US Department of Transportation,
New England University Transportation Center Sponsored Research

Faculty PI: Eran Ben-Joseph and Chris Zegras
Current Researchers : Sara Brown (MCP)
Past Researchers: Frank Hebbert (MCP), Cha-Ly Koh (MCP), Sloan Dawson (MCP),
Holly Chase (MCP) , Jae Seung Lee (PhD), Vig Krishnamurthy (MCP)


The world is experiencing a demographic transformation due to decreasing birthrates and rising life expectancy. In the United States, as 78.2 million baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) enter retirement age, urban and suburban forms exert greater influence on their well-being and active aging. The research attempts to reveal how residential environments affect baby boomers’ local travel behavior and social interactions. The broader aim of this study is to gain insights into aging-friendly neighborhood environments that can promote older adults’ sustainable mobility, as well as active and safe aging.

Phase One - Neighborhoods - Types Choices and Attitudes
The first phase of this project established the foundation for better understanding older adults’ locational characteristics in the Boston Metro Area and is allowing us to gain preliminary insights into the relationship between the built environment and the travel behavior of older adults through the study of four different urban edge communities (two age-restricted communities, two matching non-age-restricted communities), utilizing focus groups. 

Phase Two- Neighborhoods Morphologies and Travel Behavior
The second phase of this project enable us to build upon the information gained and to develop stronger empirical evidence on how different types of community settings, particularly age-restricted, active adult communities (ARAAC), apparently influence travel and activity patterns. In the second phase, we employ a travel survey instrument among older adults residing in two ARAACs and two non-ARAACs, in a matched pair, quasi-experimental research design.  Following the state-of-the-art in this type of research, we utilize survey questions and statistical techniques that attempt to control for individual’s travel preferences.  The research design enable stronger inference regarding the influence of the community setting on travel behavior.

Phase Three - Safety Mobility and Neighborhood Design

Phase Four - Using Android-Based Smart phones to Understand Older Adults’ Travel Behavior