Participatory approaches to engaging seniors in designing sustainable transport options



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As America's senior population keeps booming, research published by leading organizations on the issues of senior mobility and "Aging in Place" have revealed the importance of senior engagement in expanding seniors' transport options. A case study was conducted to review pioneering projects using effective approaches internationally for senior engagement in transportation-related topics. Based on the case study, an engagement toolkit was developed by the researcher to facilitate practical implementation in the city of Houston. An implementation project was then conducted to evaluate the toolkit based on the events observed and inputs provided by the participants. The project discovered characteristics of an organization that would make it a better candidate to apply the toolkit. Those characteristics include: 1) having the experience and knowledge of how to carry out a participatory event, 2) planning to use the toolkit for delivering topics related to transport options to seniors, 3) having sufficient resources that can invest into the toolkit implementation, and 4) having an action plan to utilize the collected data after holding a participatory event. The narrative acquired from the participants also indicated optimism for the implementation of the toolkit. These results suggest that a careful and intentional use of participatory approaches can contribute to the success of using senior engagement in expanding their transport options.