ITNBluegrass is a local affiliate of a national organization (ITNAmerica) and a creative, grassroots approach to the increasingly serious challenge of senior transportation, especially for states like Kentucky whose citizenry is aging more quickly than many other states. The ITN (Independent Transportation Network) model is grounded in the understanding that older people, like most Americans, rely on their automobiles for transportation, and regard other options – public transit, walking or biking – as important, yet supplementary, using them only when driving their own cars is not feasible or convenient. Yet, an estimated 4.5 million seniors in the U.S. today are not able to drive, and that number is growing quickly as 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day.
The mission of ITNBluegrass is to provide safe, dignified and affordable automobile transportation to any person age 60 and over and any adult with a visual impairment that precludes driving. Riders join the service as members and can schedule rides twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, for any reason within the service area (which is all of Fayette and northern Jessamine Counties). Other key features of the program include “arm-through-arm, door-through-door” service, a popular feature where members may be escorted where they need to go – even into an office in a multi-story office building if they wish. Other features include help with stairs, help carrying packages, and the option of traveling alone or with others.