I attended the NCITE luncheon yesterday where Tom Gillaspy (MN State Demographer) was the featured speaker. It was very scary and informative. The scary/informative part (true for both the United States and Minnesota) –
- The babyboom generation (began in 1946) is magically turning 65 (age when they can collect Medicare in addition to Social Security). Huge wave of retirements coming.
- The current twenty-somethings (GenY) strongly prefer dense/urban living.
- The above factors are driving a resurgance of inner-city/first ring suburbs.
- GenX (me) is the smallest generation out there. Retiring babyboomers plus small generation of forty-somethings means potentially huge shortage in leadership.
Scary slide (because it leads to Medicaid type services totally engulfing Federal and State spending on our current trajectory – this slide is for MN, but Tom says MN is very representative of U.S.):
What does this aging population/change in demographics mean for traffic engineers?
- Need to be better with signage (size, location, etc.).
- Need to design facilities keeping longer reaction times in mind.
- Peak hour traffic will plateau or decrease, but non-peak traffic will go up.
- Transit plays a much bigger role moving forward.