Aging Adults in Metro Area at Increased Risk for Pedestrian Accidents in Chicago

According to Transportation For America, the metro region of Chicago has more than 8 million travelers. In 2000, nearly 10 percent of this population was urban seniors that were 65-years-old and older and had poor access to transit.

Another 61 percent of suburban and exurban seniors faced poor access. What’s even worse is, the total number of seniors with poor access is expected to increase by more than 153,500 by 2015. During this time, a significant portion of the metro area will experience a greater density of seniors with poor transit access.
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According to a 2001 survey, conducted by the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, of residents ages 43- to 57-years old, nearly 80 percent believed they will see no “serious limits on their activity until after age 70” and almost 50 percent believe that they will remain “active and going strong over age 80.” Many of these residents don’t believe that they face any risks for a pedestrian accident in Chicago.

Our Chicago personal injury attorneys bring this up because these residents who are 65-years-old and older and live in a community with poor or non-existent public transportation services could be more likely to be involved in a pedestrian accident with a motor vehicle. Despite the elderly population’s desire to hang on to their independence, the truth is that many of these residents will gradually experience diminishing eye site, fading hearing and the inability to quickly react to dangerous situations.

The number of residents in this age group who live in these areas with poor transit access, is expected to grow rapidly as the baby boomer generation ages.

The recent report “Aging in Place, Stuck without Options” by Transportation For America ranks some of the busiest metro areas by the percentage of seniors with poor access to public transportation.

This report looks to inform the public about the serious and dangerous issues that our elderly populations will face in these metro areas. This is especially important in cash-strapped states with little to no funding for pedestrian safety. The report believes that local governments will be forced to request federal support for assistance in meeting the city’s needs and the needs of its elderly population. As Congress prepares to adopt a new, long-term transportation authorization, this report helps to break down policies to help ensure that aging Americans can remain mobile, active and independent.

The current baby boomer generation is the largest retiring generation of all time. It consists of more than 77 million people that were born between 1946 and 1964. Baby boomers are a unique population because they came of age during the unprecedented economic expansion that followed World War II. This is a time period that helped fuel the rise of new suburban communities and increased residents’ reliance on the motor vehicle. This was also during a time that the Federal Government initiated the largest project in U.S. history with the construction of the Interstate Highway system.

As the American life expectancy continue to increase, the largest U.S. generation will also be the oldest. With these numbers, a large share of these residents will find that their ability to navigate by vehicle diminishes or disappears over time.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian accident in Illinois, call the accident lawyers at Abels & Annes for a free consultation. Call (866) 99-ABELS.

More Blog Entries:

82-Year-Old Driver Injures Two Pedestrians – Are Your Parent’s at Risk for a Car Accident in Chicago?, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, July 15, 2011

Chicago hit-and-run accident kills pedestrian, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, April 4, 2011