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How volunteer driver programs in New Brunswick are providing lessons in rural transportation planning for older adults and non-drivers BY TREVOR HANSON UNIVERSITY OF NEW BRUNSWICK While Canada’s urban population is growing, there are millions of Canadians who live in rural communities throughout the country, most who rely on the personal automobile for their mobility. For some, the mobility offered by the personal automobile is tenuous; the health effects of aging can make driving difficult or impossible over time and the cost of automobile ownership can form one of the largest household expenses. Selling one’s home to move to larger urban areas with other mobility solutions is an option for some but, for others, the higher cost of urban living may not be feasible. Family and friends tend to be the 7


first choice for mobility by non-driving older adults before any formalized alternative. However, as the impacts of a rapidly aging population, outmigration of youth, smaller family sizes, and centralization of health and commercial facilities in urban areas begin to be felt in rural areas, it is unclear whether informal approaches will satisfy mobility needs. It is also unclear how more formalized approaches (such as rural transit) will be assessed, initiated, and maintained in areas that fall outside of a jurisdictional framework for planning and service funding.