For those who are unable to drive, lack of access to reliable transportation represents a loss of independence and significantly impacts one’s physical and emotional health and wellbeing. As many parts of NH are rural, this can be a particularly acute problem for many older people across the state.
Working across a broad spectrum of organizations, stakeholders, and community members, the NH Alliance for Healthy Aging launched a Transportation Workgroup in 2016. The work of this group has accumulated across three strategy areas:
Strategy 1: Identify and Understand Transportation Needs.
The AHA Transportation Group has convened monthly to identify areas of unmet need; availability and accessibility of services; and possible solutions. To better understand these areas, the group collected information and data across a variety of organizations including developing a business case model for transportation options, cataloging transportation programs, and surveying and supporting Volunteer Driver Programs across the state.
Strategy 2: Expand Outreach and Awareness of Transportation Programs.
The group has expanded partnerships with the NH Department of Health and Human Services, the NH State Commission on Aging, and ServiceLink Resource Centers in an effort to create stronger links between the transit and state systems. Additionally, in collaboration with Southern NH Planning Commission, the group developed an online interactive Volunteer Driver Map, which provides service area and contact information for each volunteer driver program in the state. This map further provided a baseline of where programs exist, gaps in coverage, and is publicly accessible to individuals looking for services in their area.
Strategy 3: Create connections and promote cooperative delivery systems.
To align delivery systems, the group hosted a convening of transportation providers and medical providers in the Seacoast region to strengthen collaboration. In partnership with the Statewide Coordinating Council, the group hosted a volunteer driver peer meeting. This meeting focused on providing an open forum in which volunteer driver programs discussed how the pandemic impacted their services and how to recruit and retain volunteers. In the summer of 2020 the AHA Transportation Group launched a Volunteer Driver Program Peer to Peer Network to support the strengthening and development of volunteer driver programs across the state.
Approximately 80% of NH communities have some form of volunteer driver program. To learn more about the volunteer driver programs (VDP) in your area by exploring Southern NH Planning Commission’s VDP Interactive Map.
View the NH Alliance for Healthy Aging Transportation Group Strategy brief.
As NH is expected to experience a doubling of older people over the next 20 years, new transportation solutions are critical for NH and its residents. To learn more about how you can join the efforts to increase transportation options for all of us as we age contact, Jennifer Rabalais at firstname.lastname@example.org.