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The Ohio Department of Aging

Ohio Department of Aging Aging News and Perspective

Elder Mobility: New Solutions for Ohio Communities
Local forums explore approaches to keep elders, people with disabilities, connected

May 15, 2014
Updated June 19, 2014

Transportation connects us to family and friends. It helps us participate in daily activities that enhance our quality of life, as well as access resources that are essential to our health and well-being. As our population ages and the number of older drivers increases, the safety of every driver and passenger on Ohio roadways becomes an increasing concern.

Elder Mobility: New Solutions for CommunitiesAge alone does not determine someone's ability to drive safely. Safe driving involves knowledge and experience, as well as physical and cognitive ability. While our knowledge and experience increase with age, changes to and possible losses in vision, physical health and mental capabilities require adjustments to help us remain safe and responsible drivers.

For many older Ohioans and their families, the choice to "hang up the keys" is a difficult and emotional one. Having transportation options available can ease these emotions and help families make the best decisions. Ohio communities large and small are struggling to meet the transportation needs of elders and people with disabilities.

On June 16-18, local partners in Cleveland, Toledo, Findlay/Lima and Columbus joined with the Ohio Department of Aging, the Ohio Department of Public Safety/Bureau of Motor Vehicles and the Ohio Department of Transportation/Office of Transit to offer community forums titled, "Elder Mobility: New Solutions for Ohio Communities." Attendees learned about:

  1. Programs to help elders sharpen their skills, change their driving habits or decide to stop driving;
  2. Strategies to use existing community transportation resources more efficiently; and
  3. New models to expand transportation capacity, featuring the research-based ITNAmerica® model.

Local partners:

June 16 - Cleveland
Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging

June 17 - Toledo
Area Office on Aging of Northwest Ohio

June 17 - Findlay (Rural Focus)
United Way of Hancock County and Area Agency on Aging 3

June 18 - Columbus
Central Ohio Area Agency on Aging


Speakers' Presentations


Media Coverage


Featured Best Practices and Speakers


ITN America

Independent Transportation Network® (ITN®) is a dignified transportation alternative for older individuals and visually impaired adults who can no longer drive. ITN® provides rides in automobiles, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, with drivers who are trained to ensure riders safety and comfort.

ITN® services are dignified and consumer-oriented. Older adults who join ITN® become dues-paying members of a non-profit organization committed to their independence and mobility. When they pick up the telephone to schedule a ride, they are not asking a favor. The transition from the driver's seat to the passenger seat is never easy - for the drivers or for their families - but it is infinitely easier when there is a viable transportation alternative that keeps the older adult in control.

ITN® provides excellent customer service with the arm-through-arm, door-through-door standard that sets them apart from taxis. Like using one's own automobile, the ITN® service is available 24/7 and gives customers the flexibility to schedule their rides in advance or as needed, as well as the option to ride alone or with others, as they please, to destinations of their choice.

ITNAmerica® is a national organization with twenty-one affiliates, including ITNGreaterCincinnati®

Katherine Freund, Founder and President of ITNAmerica® - Katherine has a Master of Arts degree in Public Policy from the Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She served on the Advisory Committee for the 2005 White House Conference on Aging and National Transit Institute Fellow. Currently, she serves on the Transportation Research Board's Committee on the Safe Mobility of Seniors and chairs TRB's Joint Subcommittee on Transportation Options for Seniors.

In 2009, Katherine was named an AARP Inspire Award Honoree, and in February 2008, she was featured in the Wall Street Journal as one of "12 People Who Are Changing Your Retirement." Katherine received the 2006 Maxwell Pollack Award from the Gerontological Society of America, a 2006 award for Leadership in Innovative Enterprise Ideas from the Social Enterprise Alliance, the 2004 Archstone Award for Excellence in Program Innovation from the American Public Health Association, and the Giraffe Award for sticking her neck out for the common good.

Nancy Schuster, Executive Director, ITNGreaterCincinnati® - Nancy brings a long and successful history of national and international business success to her role as ITNGreaterCincinnati®'s first Executive Director. Prior to accepting her position with ITN®, Nancy worked for a local healthcare consulting firm managing their India-based outsourced professional services. She established her own medical transcription company in Florida and has also held a variety of positions in the healthcare and manufacturing industries, including accounting, purchasing, production planning, and change management.

Nancy's for-profit background and business education (masters in business administration and a bachelor's degree in Accounting from Montclair State University in New Jersey) give her the skills necessary to make ITNGreaterCincinnati® an effective and integral organization in the greater Cincinnati community.


Area Agency on Aging 3

Transportation coordination efforts in the AAA 3 service area are provided through the FACTS Coalition in which the AAA 3 Mobility Manager serves as lead. This group of transportation stakeholders work together to solve the complex transportation challenges facing the seven county region and attempt to be more efficient with the use of collective (limited) dollars. Key components of FACTS Coalition/AAA 3's transportation coordination initiatives include:

  • A transportation call center that provides information to all callers about transportation options available to them.
  • A FIND A RIDE program (awarded an N4A Achievement Award in 2012) that provides rides for individuals 60 and over as well as those under 60 with a disability when there are no other community options available by contracting with local transportation companies.
  • A partnership with the American Cancer Society where AAA 3 Mobility Manager serves as volunteer coordinator for the Road to Recovery program.
  • An partnership with Allen County EMA to provide transportation to transportation-dependent populations in Allen County in the event of an emergency.
  • Defensive Drive training developed and offered to the FACTS coalition members and other transportation providers at a discounted cost.
  • Beyond Driving with Dignity self-assessment and other information provided to older drivers to assist them in maintaining their safe driver status and if necessary assist to provide a smooth transition from driving.

AAA 3 is currently the only area agency on aging in the state with a mobility manager on staff working on transportation coordination.


Erica Petrie, Mobility Manager, Area Agency on Aging 3 - Erica is a graduate of Bluffton University and a Licensed Social Worker. She has been employed with Area Agency on Aging 3 for twelve years and during that time has served as Case Manager, Director of Provider Relations and most recently, Mobility Manager. As Mobility Manager she works to support access to person-centered transportation services and leads transportation coordination activities.

Erica has been key in the development of and provides leadership for the FACTS Coalition, a local coalition working together to better meet the transportation needs in the west central Ohio region. She established a one-call, one-click transportation call center at Area Agency on Aging 3 and created and currently administers the FIND A RIDE program (which was recognized with an N4A Aging Achievement Award in 2012). Erica is a Beyond Driving with Dignity certified professional and a certified Car Fit technician and has spoken about Mobility Management and transportation coordination at local, regional, state and national forums.


Beyond Driving with DignityBeyond Driving With Dignity/Keeping Us Safe

Founded in 2008, Keeping Us Safe is an organization that provides practical, real-life solutions to older drivers and their families. Our programs are designed to save lives while simultaneously helping to ease the burden of the family as they find themselves faced with this very challenging issue.

Keeping Us Safe core product is "Beyond Driving with Dignity; The workbook for older drivers and their families". Timely and appropriate use of this workbook and of all available resources will help keep families from making many of the common mistakes encountered by others as you move toward a possible driving retirement for your loved one.

Services include:

  • The Self-Assessment Program for older drivers: This individualized program has been designed to serve as a valuable tool in helping older drivers (and their families) make appropriate decisions regarding the future of ones safe driving career. If the individual is a safe driver, we provide him or her with strategies on how to remain a safe driver as they progress through the aging process. If driving retirement is the appropriate decision, then we provide the individual (and their family) with acceptable alternatives, resources and a very specific plan to ensure a smooth and successful transition from the driver's seat to the passenger seat. These self-assessments are facilitated by one of our Certified "Beyond Driving with Dignity" Professionals.
  • "Beyond Driving with Dignity" Professional Certification program: The Beyond Driving with Dignity (BDD) training and certification program has been designed to arm certain professionals with tools necessary to help older drivers and their families work through the complicated issue of age-related diminishing driving skills. There are currently Certified "Beyond Driving with Dignity" Professionals in seventeen states and five Canadian provinces, include 17 certified professionals in Ohio.

Matt Gurwell, Founder of Keeping us Safe - After retiring from a very successful 24-year career with the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Matt Gurwell quickly recognized that he was still driven to improve highway safety and more specifically, to help keep older drivers, safe drivers. As a result, Matt founded Keeping Us Safe, a national organization with a mission to help keep older drivers safe. He has developed programs that provide senior drivers and their families with direction in helping to ensure one's smooth transition from the driver's seat to the passenger seat.

Since leaving the Patrol, Matt has participated in a tremendous amount of work in the area of older driver research, best practices, current vehicle safety technologies, and adaptive equipment. After consulting with professionals from several different disciplines, Matt took this new knowledge and blended it with his years of experience investigating accidents and dealing with people (in sometimes less than comfortable settings!), and developed the "Enhanced Self-Assessment Program" for senior drivers, the "Beyond Driving with Dignity" workbook and professional certification program.


State Agency Partners

Ohio Department of AgingOhio Department of Transportation

Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles


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