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Methodology




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Transportation and Convenience Indicators

Weights*
Indicator
Methodology
Year
100 large
281 small
Walk Score ®
Average Walk Score for principal cities, ‡
Data source: www.walkscore.com, data provided by Redfin Real Estate
2016 0.232 0.215
Number of passenger trips
Average commute time to work, †
Data source: Census Bureau
2014 0.125 0.154
Commuters who walk to work
Percent of commuters who walk to work, ‡
Data source: Census Bureau
2014 0.124 0.125
Number of passenger trips
Composite score from average per capita and per population 65+ calculations, ‡
Data sources: American Public Transportation Association, Milken Institute
2014 0.213 0.182
Public transport fare*
Mean discounted fare for older adults or disabled, †
Data sources: American Public Transportation Association, city websites
2015 0.055 --
Investment in public
transportation for
older adults
Section 5310 spending per 65+ population, divided by corresponding U.S. value, ‡
Data sources: Federal Transit Administration, Census Bureau
2016 0.054 0.104
Grocery stores
Per capita, NAICS codes: 4451
Data source: Census Bureau
2014 0.136 0.221
Special needs transportation
Composite score from average per capita and per population 65+ calculations, NAICS code:
485991, ‡
Data source: Census Bureau
2014 0.061 --
* Figures may not add up to 1 due to rounding. † The lowest value is ranked highest. ‡ The highest value is ranked highest.

Transportation and convenience are key factors in the livability of a community, and barriers to transportation are barriers to needed goods and services, from food to health care. To maintain lifestyles, independence, and social interactions, older adults must be mobile.

Access to amenities such as grocery stores, schools, and recreation can improve health and wellness. The USDA no longer publishes data on percent of older adults near a grocery store to assess the existence of food deserts. We have updated the BCSA index to look at grocery stores per capita, excluding convenience stores because they are not associated with livability and community health. 5 The transportation and convenience category also includes a new variable, the Walk Score, ® 6 a popular metric of walkability. We also capture the average commute time for pedestrians as another way to assess the transit infrastructure and urban design of a community.

A well-designed community that facilitates mobility enables aging adults to live independently longer. To identify metros with effective public transportation, we include indicators on mean fares for public transport, investment in public transport for older adults, special needs transportation, and number of passenger trips.

5 Morland, K. et al., "Supermarkets, Other Food Stores, and Obesity: The Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study," American Journal of Preventive Medicine 30(4) (2006):333-339.

6 Data provided by Redfin Real Estate, www.walkscore.com.

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