Planning and Engineering

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road design older driver; designing roadways seniors; mobility planning; human factors

State and local engineers and planners are in a unique position to affect safety for all types of road users. Designing roads for older road users (both drivers and pedestrians) can have a lasting impact on saving lives. Older drivers often experience changes in physical abilities that can affect their driving such as vision and hearing changes, decreased flexibility and strength, slower reaction times, and more. In addition, older road users are more likely than younger individuals to be seriously injured or killed when involved in a traffic crash (Cicchino, 2015). Designing roads around the complex needs of older road users can help mitigate some of the effects of aging, as well as improve safety for all road users.

The Federal Highway Administration has numerous resources specifically related to older road users. These resources can be downloaded from the Older Road User Safety page of FHWA.  In addition to the resources listed below, information regarding the Older Driver and Pedestrian Design Workshop, Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, Federal and State Older Road User Program information, and more are available on the FHWA website.

2014 Handbook for Designing Roadways for the Aging Population

This comprehensive handbook outlines recommended traffic control and design elements that benefit older road users. This handbook is divided into two parts, with Part I outlining the recommended treatments and Part II providing the rationale and evidence for the recommended treatments.

Desk Reference for the 2014 Handbook for Designing Roadways for the Aging Population

This desk reference offers concise information focusing on Part I of the comprehensive handbook.

Travel Better, Travel Longer: A Pocket Guide to Improve Traffic Control and Mobility for Our Older Population

This 2003 pocket guide highlights traffic control devices that can help enhance safety in specific traffic situations that prove more challenging for older road users.



Cicchino, J. B. (2015). Why have fatality rates among older drivers declined? The relative contributions of changes in survivability and crash involvement. Driving cessation and health outcomes in older adults. Accident Anal Prev, 83, 67-73.