A Travel-Livability Index for Seniors, Phase I: Livability Attribute Importance

The overall purpose of this research was to develop a localized livability index that is particularly sensitive to the travel needs of seniors. This phase of the research included two objectives: (1) synthesize the survey data from previous AARP surveys which included livability attribute-importance; and (2) rank these attributes by their stated importance and identify the critical attributes in the determination of livability for seniors, for both urban and rural zip codes. The synthesis of the existing AARP survey data revealed that 9 of the 19 existing surveys had measures of the importance of livability attributes that could be used for a combined analysis. In 2005, AARP focus groups resulted in the creation of 7 categories of livability attributes. These include nearby quality health facilities, reliable public transportation, variety in housing types, safe and secure environment, access to shopping, a physical environment that fosters walking ("walkability"), and opportunities for recreation and culture. Although only two of these categories are directly related to transportation (reliable public transportation and a “ walkable” environment), all of the factors are indirectly related. The combined survey data provided at least one measure in each of the seven categories, and four of the categories had multiple measures. The ranking of the livability attributes by their stated importance and comparison by age and zip code type revealed several important patterns. First, safe neighborhoods with a nearby hospital dominate the livability concerns of older Americans in both age groups and area types. Housing was also deemed important. Attributes related to recreational opportunities tended to be unimportant, while attributes related to shopping, places of worship, and infrastructure were of varying importance between groups. The first phase of this research successfully identified the ranks of livability attributes for seniors in rural and urban communities. Phase II will include the identification of spatial and temporal livability metrics from other data sources to represent these attributes.

  • Record URL:
  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This research was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    University of Vermont, Burlington

    Transportation Research Center
    210 Colchester Avenue
    Burlington, VT  United States  05405-1757


    601 E Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20049

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

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  • Authors:
    • Sullivan, Jim
    • Sears, Justine
    • Glitman, Karen
  • Publication Date: 2011-5-12


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 25p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01343586
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: UVM TRC Report # 11- 001
  • Files: UTC, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jul 7 2011 8:34AM