One of the best things about being a member of Capital City Village is the varied opportunities the Village offers for learning and growth. Just such a chance popped up the third Monday in November when a handful of Villagers gathered at the home of Sue and Mart Hoffman to participate in a University of Texas Community & Regional Planning graduate school focus group on travel.
Organizing the event was Sandi Rosenbloom, a nationally respected expert on transportation and currently a research professor at The University of Texas at Austin. She brought more than a dozen students to meet with about a dozen CCVers.
“The students are enrolled in a graduate seminar in the UT Austin Community and Regional Planning program entitled ‘Creating Intergenerational Communities.’ We chose to take on the challenge of a student design competition organized by the Airport Cooperative Research Program (ACRP) of the National Research Council as the class project. The ACRP is looking for student projects addressing crucial airport operations and management problems,” she explained. The class that wins the competition will receive $2,500 and a trip to Washington, D.C.
They asked, essentially, what is good and bad about airports for older travelers. They may not have noticed, but the group of seniors they were with comprised a slew of fitness freaks whose travels include hiking and biking. In other words, not an easily daunted crowd.
Sandi, as Dr. Rosenbloom identified herself, had the participants separate into two groups in adjoining rooms, with spouses split. Right off the bat, Henry McCown, who seems to have been everywhere, said, “The best airport in the world is Changi in Singapore.” He went to explain that it enables travelers to move easily through customs, security, and to connecting flights, and it has useful amenities.
“What features present difficulties?”, the students asked. Among them, members replied variously, are flight displays that often are difficult to read and escalators and moving sidewalks for their unstable access points. “My wife won’t go near one,” one member said.
Liby Beck said one of the most effective travel connections she’s experienced is a “pod” that she and Carl took from their hotel in London to the airport. It is small, driverless car that simplifies getting around in a congested city.
A couple of CCVers added their experiences when they have been ill or injured, that going in a wheel chair is a breeze. The comments led to jokes that perhaps travelers ought to carry inflatable casts to skip lines.
Of course, we hope we helped the class and look forward to hearing about its success.
Many thanks to those who participated on behalf of Capital City Village.