As Minnesota’s population ages, the state’s transportation needs will change. Providing accessible and affordable ways for older adults to get around is a vital part of ensuring independent, fulfilling lives. This paper explores how Minnesota’s age 65 and older population is changing, how they travel and the largest barriers to meeting their needs and participating in community.
Over 920,000 Minnesotans are currently age 65 and older, and that number is projected to grow to more than 1.3 million by the year 2040. The percentage of Minnesotans in that age group is projected to grow from 16% to 21% over the next 20 years. The majority of older Minnesotans live outside the seven-county metro area and that pattern is projected to persist. Today, older adults in Minnesota are more likely to be white, but as the state’s population ages, more people of color will enter old age.
Most older adults in Minnesota get around by driving their own vehicle. Older drivers are less likely to get in a crash than younger drivers, but crashes pose a higher risk of injury and death for older adults. When older adults choose not to or are no longer able to drive anymore, their independence and quality of life can decrease due to the lack of convenient transportation alternatives.
Older adults are more likely to have a disability than younger people, especially difficulty walking, hearing and running errands independently. Some new transportation options, like Lyft and Uber, are of limited use to older adults, but there are many new technologies that can improve transportation for older adults.