Improving the Mobility of Transportation Disadvantaged Older Adults: A Community-Based Intervention for the Hispanic/Latino Population

Driving cessation in older adults can present a significant transportation problem and public health dilemma. In particular, previously car-dependent older adults may struggle to access healthcare, attend social activities, and conduct errands once they lose the ability to drive. The “Healthy Buddy” project ( is a community-based initiative that pairs trained college students with transportation disadvantaged older adults to help them identify existing transportation and health resources in their communities. The Healthy Buddy Program was established out of the need to address health equity issues associated with the increasing number of older adults who experience difficulties accessing reliable and safe transportation.Given that the population of Hispanic/Latino older adults in the U.S. is projected to grow rapidly, making up 22% of all adults over age 65 by 2060 (HHS, 2015), the development of a Spanish-language accessible version of the Healthy Buddy Program is crucial and timely. Furthermore, preliminary qualitative interviews of older adults in Hillsborough County, Florida, revealed a need for concerted efforts and outreach to resolve equity issues that already exist for Hispanic/Latino populations. Pilot research for the Healthy Buddy Program was funded through the Center for Transportation, Environment, and Community Health in 2018. Preliminary phases included program development and pilot testing to identify barriers and opportunities for improving older adults’ access to community transportation and health resources. This proposed study will build upon initial research by extending the outcomes of the program and adding a Spanish-language version of the Healthy Buddy Program for transportation disadvantaged Hispanic/Latino older adults. Through a multi-site implementation of the Spanish-language version in Hillsborough County, Florida, and Dallas–Fort Worth, Texas, this project is expected to contribute to the development of a more equitable and inclusive transportation network at the national level.