Posts Tagged ‘Katherine Freund’

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

June 10, 2015


June 9, 2015

Lisa Wolff, Marketing and Communications Manager
207-591-6942 |

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.


NewsOK: Nonprofit helps seniors give up their keys, not their mobility

May 19, 2015

A national nonprofit aims to provide safe and affordable transportation for older adults in the Oklahoma City area come fall.

Independent Transportation Network (ITN) of Central Oklahoma, an affiliate of Maine-based ITN-America, is recruiting community volunteers to transport older men and women who can no longer safely drive.

Katherine Freund, ITN America’s founder, said the organization wants to put friendly, compassionate volunteer drivers in the driver’s seat so that older adults may transition to the passenger’s seat.

“I don’t call it giving up driving, because that feels like a negative thing. When in reality, if you make a transition to the passenger seat when it’s no longer safe to drive, that’s not a negative thing, that’s positive thing,” Freund said.

Read the full article online here

NewsOK: New car service coming for seniors and visually impaired

May 1, 2015

New Car Service Coming to Oklahoma City

A new service is coming to Oklahoma City, it’s a rider sharing model for seniors and the visually impaired called Independent Transportation Network of Central Oklahoma. Katherine Freund, founder and CEO of ITNAmerica, and Dr. Mark Mellow discuss.
Watch the video online here An Affordable Alternative for Older Adults Who Can’t Drive

April 1, 2015

When three-year-old Ryan Walsh was hit by an 84-year-old driver, his mother, Katherine, did something that most people would find difficult (if not impossible) to do.

“I put myself in the shoes of the older gentleman who was in the car. I wouldn’t want to be the person who ran over a child,” she says. “It was a horrible situation for everyone involved and he shouldn’t have been behind the wheel. So I asked myself, how did it happen? Why was he driving when he shouldn’t be driving?”

This line of questioning led Freund down several paths towards a potential solution for preventing other families’ lives from being turned upside down by an unsafe older driver. First, she considered trying to create a fool-proof test to screen for hazardous drivers and prevent them from operating a motor vehicle. But even a perfectly-developed driving evaluation wouldn’t address the important underlying issue of an older adult’s desire to remain mobile and independent.

Read the full article online here

AARP Livable Communities: 5 Questions for Katherine Freund

March 18, 2015

AARP Livable CommunitiesOn average, men in the United States outlive their ability to drive by seven years. Women, who generally live longer than men, survive an additional decade beyond their driving years. Since the majority of communities nationwide are not walkable and do not have comprehensive public transit options, being a nondriver can be a limiting, isolating and even health-endangering experience.

Case in point: More than 3 million Americans miss or delay medical appointments every year because they lack a ride to the doctor.

As a young mother in 1988, Katherine Freund learned firsthand that the transportation problems faced by older adults can have a direct impact on people of any age, including her then-toddler son, who was run over and seriously injured by an 84-year-old driver who didn’t even realize he had nearly killed a child. (After years of extensive care the little boy did recover and is now a successful 30-year-old man.)

Read the full article online here

Huffington Post: Here’s How To Get Dangerous Older Drivers Off The Road

March 12, 2015

More than 25 years ago, Katherine Freund’s life changed course in the blink of an eye. An 84-year-old driver struck and seriously injured her toddler son; the driver kept going and later said he mistook the little boy for a dog. The 1988 incident remains painful for Freund to talk about even today, but two remarkable things came from it: Her son fully recovered from his broken bones and traumatic brain injury and grew into a kind and aware man, and instead of being devoured by anger at the driver who struck her child, Freund focused her attention on what she calls the “real problem” behind the accident.

And that problem is this: Older unsafe drivers stay on the road because they have no choice. Cars are seen as the key to independence and without them, our worlds shrivel. The average American outlives his/her ability to drive by about 10 years and the quality of their lives diminishes when they relinquish their private transportation, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Read the full article online here

Forbes: How The Story Of One 3-Year-Old Boy Started A Senior Mobility Movement

February 23, 2015

How The Story Of One 3-Year-Old Boy Started A Senior Mobility MovementWhen my son was 3 years old, he was run over by an 84-year-old driver who said he thought he hit a dog. That was 27 years ago, and even though Ryan survived a traumatic brain injury, for years, I refused to talk about it. But through the Independent Transportation Network, I have spent all of my working life since that day in 1988 trying to solve the underlying transportation problem that caused the tragedy: inadequate transportation for older people.

My family is far from the only family that’s suffered as a result of this problem; older drivers have the highest fatal crash rate of any group except teenagers. Since 3 out of 4 older Americans live in rural and suburban communities that lack the density for traditional mass transit, most have limited transportation options that could otherwise help keep them safe and mobile. And the problem grows steadily, as 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day for the next 17 years. By 2030, more than 70 million Americans will be aged 65 or older.

Read the full article online here

Innovator Profile: Katherine Freund, ITNAmerica

February 12, 2015

Katherine Freund, Founder and President ITNAmericaIn 1988, Ms. Freund’s 3-year-old son was hit by a car and nearly killed. The driver was 84 years old. That event sparked an interest in transportation issues that led, in the mid-1990s, to the development of the Independent Transportation Network.

The program offers rides – round the clock, seven days a week – to older adults. Riders can trade in their cars and get credit for travel; volunteer drivers can bank their hours on the road to use later for themselves or family. Ms. Freund serves as founder and president of ITNAmerica, which has grown into a national organization. (From the Wall Street Journal)

The following is a lightly edited version of the Shared-Use Mobility Center’s conversation with Katherine Freund. In each issue of SUMC’s newsletter, we will profile a different shared mobility innovator.

Read the full article online here

Katherine Freund: Imagining a Future in Which Older People Won’t Need to Drive

February 11, 2015

Her knees aren’t great. She uses a cane. She doesn’t walk as quickly as she used to. And the nearest bus stop is a couple of miles away. She promised her kids she wouldn’t drive. So what now?

Well, first things first: she gets out those reading glasses and puts on that thinking cap because it’s time to figure out the route. Red line? Blue line? Oh, there’s a quick underground connection. Run to catch it?

Um, no.

Oh, for Pete’s sake. Where are the car keys?

“Only about 2 1/2 percent of the trips that older people take in the entire country are on mass transportation of any kind,” says Katherine Freund, an advocate for improving transportation for elders.

Read the full article online here

The Daily Beast: “Is Uber’s Paratransit Service Anything But a PR Move?”

January 13, 2015

Is Uber’s Paratransit Service Anything But a PR Move?

Uber wants to take over San Francisco’s system of transport for disabled and elderly residents. Are they serious, or just trying to look better to the public?

Point to point transportation for anyone with a disability can be a challenge, and at the moment many rely on what are known as paratransit networks—accessible public transportation services. But that may change in the near future, thanks to another Silicon Valley disruption.

Uber, the popular app that helps users hail taxis and private cars, has been in talks with the San Francisco government to take over the city’s paratransit network, according to documents obtained by the San Francisco Examiner last week. Although the talks ultimately didn’t result in Uber doing business with San Francisco—the company was interested in taking over the city’s entire paratransit network—Uber’s foray into the public service does raise the issue of transportation network companies (TNCs) expanding into other niches.

Read the full article online here