How do older adults get around the region?

People over 65 drive for most of their transportation, but walk more than any other age group

As part of the 2017 Puget Sound Travel Survey, PSRC looked at the travel habits of older adults in the region.

Since the 2006 survey, we’ve seen an upward trend in older adults holding onto a driver’s license as they age.

People ages 65 and older reported driving or being driven for about 85% of their trips. They were the sole occupants in their cars for about 50% of their trips, more often than people ages 18 to 64.

Survey participants in this age group also reported using transit less than younger people, taking it for about 5% of their trips, compared to 10% for adults 18 to 64.

One reason older adults use transit less might be that they take fewer work trips, while regional transit systems tend to focus on connecting work and school hubs.

Although older adults use transit less than others, they walk more frequently than any other age group. A third of survey participants over 65 went for a walk five days or more a week. The survey found that few older people are taking bike rides.

The survey asked how frequently people used ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. Only around 10% of adults over age 65 had used ride-hailing services, compared to around 30% of adults ages 18 to 64. The survey also found that older adults were less interested in owning an autonomous car than younger adults.

Survey findings might indicate that older adults could use help in scheduling and navigating transportation options like transit and new transportation technologies like ride-hailing.

The Puget Sound Regional Council conducts a regional travel survey every two years to learn more about how and where people travel in the region.

The 2019 travel survey is underway now.



I drive my father in law (92 years old) to Drs appts twice a month. We go from 805 4th N to 7th Ave and Marian St . It is becoming more and more of a challenge to get through town N to S. He cannot walk, take transit or hail ride share by himself. He has dementia and limited mobility.

I am 66. I walk for exercise and take transit if I am going downtown to one location. If I am running errands; groceries, dry cleaning, hardware store, post office or buying gas, I drive.
I also drive my wife to the airport and pick her up about 8 round trips a month. I either access the express lanes at Mercer Street or use the southbound 99 tunnel; which is lovely, efficient and direct to 509 and SeaTac.
My wife and I drive to Olympia about twice a month from Queen Anne Hill. It can be very challenging returning Northbound I-5 when you approach the stadiums. Often times I exit I-5 then use 4th Ave or Airport Way to China town then take 9th by
Harbor view to 6th, 8th or Boren to Westlake N or Dexter Ave N for the last leg.
On a good day I can take I-5 all the way to Mercer Street heading west to Dexter then home.

Why has WSDOT abandoned any solutions for adding throughput capacity N and S bound on I/5 going through downtown Seattle? I watch construction through Tacoma expand for 20-25 years.

Thanks for your comments.  You might want to look at a recent WSDOT presentation to PSRC's Transportation Policy Board on the I-5 System Partnership, which is working to develop a master plan for improving the I-5 system from Tumwater to Marysville. Looking at solutions to moving people through downtown Seattle will be part of that effort.  You can see the presentation here.