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Sixty-day storytelling road trip personifies transportation situation of aging and visually impaired Americans

June 10, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 9, 2015

CONTACT:
Lisa Wolff, Marketing and Communications Manager
207-591-6942 | lisa.wolff@itnamerica.org

Sixty-day storytelling road trip personifies transportation situation of aging and visually impaired Americans

National senior transportation expert Katherine Freund launches national tour from AARP Maine headquarters in Portland, Maine June 16.

Storybook Tour
PORTLAND, Maine – June 9, 2015 – ITNAmerica Founder and President Katherine Freund has not only led the nonprofit Independent Transportation Network (ITN) senior transportation movement for more than 20 years, she has courageously told the personal story that inspired this movement. But this year, she’s all about telling others’ stories.

ITNAmerica celebrates the 20th anniversary of the first ride ever given by ITN on June 16 by launching a 60-day national road trip. More than two dozen “story stops” comprise the Storybook Tour, each chosen for the distinct way it personifies transportation needs that millions of aging or visually impaired Americans experience every day. AARP Maine will host the anniversary kick-off event with national speakers including National Transportation Safety Board Vice Chairman Bella Dinh-Zarr and AARP Interim Head of State and Community Engagement Lori Parham. Speakers will share their personal stories about how met or unmet transportation needs, for themselves or a loved one, have changed their life.

More than 70 million Americans – that’s 1 in 5 – will be over the age of 65 in 15 years, and may start to experience diminished capacity to drive safely. Freund will drive to the people who are living with the decision to give up their keys, record their experiences, and share them with America through her blog, social media, traditional media and, later, a book.

“Transportation needs are too often an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ experience. We need to take notice before the accidents occur, and engage the people who can become part of the solution. Viable, personal transportation is essential if we are to age in our own homes and communities,” said Freund. “The solution is parked in millions of driveways across America. But first we need to surface the needs of so many people, their families and their communities by sharing their stories.”

Freund herself was inspired to start the Independent Transportation Network when she realized why her son was run over by an 84-year-old driver in 1988. That driver, like so many other older Americans, did not have equivalent independent transportation options available to give him the confidence to hang up the keys when it was time.

About ITNAmerica

ITNAmerica, composed of 20 ITN affiliates from coast to coast, is the only national nonprofit offering transitional and permanent transportation in personal automobiles for hundreds of thousands of older and vision-impaired people. The 24/7 arm-through-arm, door-through-door service uses innovative payment methods such as CarTrade or volunteer driver credits to bank rides, in addition to using Personal Transportation Accounts so no cash changes hand at the time of the ride. ITNAmerica also operates the only national toll-free hotline and searchable database of nearly 15,000 transportation options called Rides In Sight (855-60-RIDES).

About the Storybook Tour

From retired musicians in Nashville to the residents in the Navajo Nation in rural Arizona and members of the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s retirement community in Los Angeles, the stories on the Storybook Tour are sure to bring colorful and diverse insights into what transportation access means for the tens of millions striving to thrive in their homes and communities in spite of hanging up their car keys.

About Katherine Freund

Katherine Freund is an award-winning national expert on transportation solutions for America’s aging baby boomers. Read her full bio here.

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