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What Does Future of Transportation Look Like for Oregonians?

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has made transportation a priority during her tenure in office. (SupportPDX/Flickr)
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has made transportation a priority during her tenure in office. (SupportPDX/Flickr)
February 19, 2019

PORTLAND, Ore. — Events in Oregon this week will focus on the future of transportation and the livability of cities. The Livability Solutions Forum in Eugene on Wednesday will spotlight how technology is playing a role in rewiring regions' transportation options.

Jana Lynott, a senior advisor on transportation with the AARP Public Policy Institute, said autonomous vehicles capture a lot of headlines, but they will be just a part of the transportation picture. On-demand services such as Lyft and Uber, electric scooters and bikes and investments in public transit also will be valuable.

Lynott said it will be important to make these services accessible.

"All of these offer new opportunities for how we get around,” Lynott said. “But I think there's also a need to really look critically about how we make sure that these types of services work for everyone and that they're not introducing negative implications for our communities."

She said transportation companies and transit authorities are starting to think of ways to combine their services onto a single platform to make things easier for riders. Just as important, she said, is universal mobility - a term Lynott has coined to describe services that work for everyone, including older adults, people with disabilities and low-income folks.

The Eugene event begins at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday at Lane Community College.

The other event is an age-friendly transportation roundtable in Portland on Friday. Bandana Shrestha, director of community engagement with AARP Oregon said transit accessibility is becoming a critical issue as the country's population begins to age rapidly. She said most older Americans prefer to drive now, but they will likely outlive their driving years by seven to 11 years.

"As you grow older, what are the transportation options that you have at your disposal?” Shrestha asked. “Are you going to be able to use public transportation? Are you going to be able to walk? Are you going to be able to use ride share? Those are all the kinds of conversations we need to have to really think about a future where we're going to have more older adults than young people."

Shrestha noted transportation has been a priority for Gov. Kate Brown, who has been expanding options for rural Oregonians. The Portland roundtable will be held at Ride Connection at 9 a.m. on Friday.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR