The lack of alternate transportation is cited as one the biggest reasons seniors are reluctant to give up driving. ITN is the only program of its kind in the state and it operates only within a 15-mile radius of Portland.
Archive for the ‘ITNPortland’ Category
ITNPortland provides alternative transportation to seniors and the visually impaired 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for any purpose within 15 miles of Portland. These rides allow the recipient to enjoy the same independence and quality of life as if they had full time access to a car, while improving overall public safety.
Jack Berman may not always know what he had for breakfast yesterday, but he knows he shouldn’t get behind the wheel.
“I could kill someone,” the 84-year-old said.
Berman is a Korean War veteran and one-time traffic engineer who helped install Portland’s first traffic lights. A few years ago, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and had to give up driving. It was his doctor’s decision, not his, but Berman recognizes that it was the right thing to do.
On Friday , an 88-year-old Scarborough man was driving north in the southbound lanes of Interstate 295 in Portland. A state trooper quickly acted and set up a head-on crash to stop that driver. Two days earlier an 83-year-old South Portland man did a U-turn in Portland, killing a motorcyclist.
Both incidents could have been avoided if these drivers had chosen to stop driving and seek rides from ITNPortland, which provides affordable rides 24/7 for any purpose within 15 miles of Portland to seniors and the visually impaired.
I’ve had those vision impaired driving moments when I knew all was not right, but I drove anyway. I could think of many good reasons why it was okay: I wasn’t going far. I knew the neighborhood like the back of my hand. I’m in a hurry. It will get better.
In my case, it was that unexpected icy frost on my windshield in the wee hours of the morning. I hadn’t budgeted extra time in my morning commute to scrape my window and warm up my car for optimum visibility conditions. So, off I drove, cocking my neck to peer through the little cleared patch on my windshield, wipers on full speed, and washer fluid going great guns, the defroster blast in hopes that the warm air will warm the car and melt the ice quickly, my teeth chatter from the cold — it will get better, I will see more clearly, soon enough.
A nonprofit service that offers inexpensive car rides to older or visually impaired Cumberland County residents is expected to hit a milestone this week.
ITNPortland is just a few rides away from offering its 250,000th ride.
ITNPortland is part of the 16-year-old Independent Transportation Network, or ITNAmerica, which started out as a graduate project at the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine. It has grown into a national transportation system for older people who want to stop driving without losing their independence.
WESTBROOK – On Wednesday night, a 77-year-old driver entered Interstate 295 in Freeport and drove north in the southbound lanes.
Tragically, he lost his life and seriously injured another driver going south on 295.
Judgment errors like this one happen more often with older drivers. Twenty percent of seniors 65 and older have disabilities that impair their ability to drive safely. On average, men outlive their ability to drive safely by six years, women by 10 years.
WESTBROOK – Bob Dunfey has operated hotels and worked in former President Bill Clinton’s administration, and now he is in Westbrook, working for ITNPortland out of the Dana Warp Mill.
Dunfey was hired recently as executive director of ITNPortland, a nonprofit organization providing transportation to seniors and the visually impaired. He brings with him a wealth of experience from his years in the hotel industry. His career began in his family’s company, Dunfey Hotels, now known as Omni Hotels. He also worked for the General Service Administration for New England during Clinton’s presidency. He said his experiences helped him realize his passion for working in public service.
TWIMC (To Whom It May Concern)
The Independent Transportation Network® (ITN®) began as a graduate school project at the Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service in Portland, Maine. Inspired by personal experience when her son was hit by an 84-year old driver, ITN’s founder Katherine Freund realized that crashes are not the problem—they are the symptom. The problem is that the transportation system in the United States does not meet the mobility needs of normally aging people. Katherine reasoned that older people who do not have good transportation options cannot make safe transportation choices. She set out to solve the safety problem by addressing the underlying mobility problem. Throughout the two years she studied for her Masters degree in public policy, she looked at sustainable transportation for older people from every conceivable angle.
The New Old Age Blog
The New York Times
Dottie Macdonald, 81, got to the annual crafts fair in Portland, Me., this winter the same way she always does: with six big bins of dolls and quilts and artwork stacked in the back of a 2002 Dodge Caravan, the one her husband Bob, 86, always drives because Mrs. Macdonald never learned how.