Researchers at TSRC have conducted two studies on safe auto and transit use for older travelers at the Rossmoor Retirement Center in Walnut Creek, California. Rossmoor is approximately two miles from downtown Walnut Creek and two and a half miles from the BART station. The complementary focus of each study (i.e., driving vs. transit use) led to synergistic insights that benefited both studies.
The first study was a Toyota Motor Corporation funded project that explores seniors’ driving behavior with a series of focus groups that specifically address issues related to driving impediments and safety concerns. The findings led to recommendations for potential vehicle design solutions. In the second study, funded by the Mineta Institute and Caltrans, TSRC researchers created a transit training video to educate residents of Rossmoor about navigating the local transit system. As part of the study, researchers conducted several survey sessions before and after showing the video to evaluate the effectiveness of the video in addressing concerns of the targeted population. After viewing the video, respondents indicated a significant and positive change in transit use to the specific destinations portrayed in the video; however, results are mixed for transit travel to more general destinations that are not explicitly portrayed in the video. The video also educated viewers about a broader range of information sources, such as the Internet and 511.org. After viewing the video, respondents indicated a significant and positive change in their future stated use of these information sources.