Lyft Is Offering Seniors Free Rides To Understand Their Needs Better

Lyft Is Offering Seniors Free Rides To Understand Their Needs Better
Health

The ride-sharing company is working with USC and AARP in a new study

Matt Vitone
  • 25 september 2017

Ride-sharing has taken off across the country among younger commuters, but Lyft is hoping to understand what it can do to better serve older populations in a new study it’s running with the University of Southern California Center for Body Computing.

Through a $1 million grant provided by AARP, Lyft will be offering free rides to elderly USC patients and other senior citizens within the greater Los Angeles area. Participants will be outfitted with wearable decides that track their behaviors, with the goal of building new services that specifically meet the needs of older populations.

According to Dr. Leslie Saxon, executive director of the USC Center for Body Computing, the lack of affordable transit options can have particularly dire consequences for seniors, including several million every year who miss medical appointments due to lack of transportation access. Lack of access is also linked to increased rates of depression and feelings of isolation among seniors.

“It’s not just missing doctors’ appointments,” Saxon told Fast Company. “What really determines survival in an aging population is socialization—it’s any trip out of the house, and how active you are. That is the number one determinant of basically who lives and who dies.”

In the United States, over half of the non-driving population is age 65 and over, which means they make fewer trips to the doctors, to eat out or shop, or to see friends and family, according to data from a 2015 research study by the Surface Transportation Policy Project.

The pilot program is set to launch this fall with a group of USC Keck Medical Center patients age 60 and up, all of whom have missed at least two doctors’ appointments in the last 12 months. In addition to unlimited rides, the test group will also be given FitBits to monitor their health on a day-to-day basis.

Lyft says the company sees this as an opportunity not just to expand its customer base, but to move the conversation around ride-sharing forward and contribute a type of community service. To that end, the company already said it plans to expand the study in 2018 to other cities including Chicago and Atlanta.

Lyft | USC Center for Body Computing

Ride-sharing has taken off across the country among younger commuters, but Lyft is hoping to understand what it can do to better serve older populations in a new study it’s running with the University of Southern California Center for Body Computing.

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+senior citizens
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+technology
+travel
+USA
+wellness

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