Older Road Users

Older road users driving and walkingThe Office of Safety is committed to providing a safe environment for older road users, including drivers and pedestrians. Practitioners need to consider differences in vision, fitness and flexibility, and reaction time when designing for older drivers and pedestrians. The Office of Safety's Older Road User program addresses the engineering aspects of highway safety.


Crash Facts

As the number of licensed drivers increase in age, it is important for a state or locality to consider the traffic safety facts associated with Older Drivers and Pedestrians. The NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts document offers general older population crash information.

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Engineering Guidance and Training

  • 2014 Handbook for Designing Roadways for the Aging Population
    The original Older Driver Highway Design Handbook was published by FHWA in 1998 (FHWA-RD-97-135). The 2nd edition, titled Highway Design Handbook for Older Drivers and Pedestrians (FHWA-RD-01-103) was published in 2001. This 3rd edition, under a new title, incorporates new research findings and treatments to improve the safety of the transportation system for the aging population.

    The Handbook is divided into three sections. The first section explains how to use the Handbook to select treatments to address problems for aging drivers and pedestrians. The second section includes treatments for 51 proven and promising traffic control and design elements distributed among five categories: Intersections, Interchanges, Roadway Segments, Construction/Work Zones, and Highway-Rail Grade Crossings. The final section of the Handbook includes the rationale and supporting evidence for the treatments.

  • A Guide for Reducing Collisions Involving Older Drivers
    Published in 2004 as part of NCHRP Report 500: Guidance for Implementation of the AASHTO Strategic Highway Safety Plan, this guide outlines a variety of strategies that can assist State and local transportation agencies with addressing older drivers' special needs while improving safety for all road users.

  • Highway Design Handbook for Older Drivers and Pedestrians
    This 2001 handbook was written for highway designers, engineers, and highway safety specialists. The handbook provides guidance on how to accommodate the declining functional capabilities of the older road users with effective road design practices and engineering enhancements. FHWA Pub. No. RD-01-103.

  • Guidelines and Recommendations to Accommodate Older Drivers and Pedestrians
    A companion to the Highway Design Handbook for Older Drivers and Pedestrians, this Guidelines and Recommendations document incorporates new research findings and technical developments; and extensive practitioner input. Guidance on how and when to implement the included recommendations is included, as well as codes that indicate at a glance the relationship of each recommendation with standard design manuals, including the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and the AASHTO Green Book. FHWA Pub. No. RD-01-05.

  • Pocket Guide to Improve Traffic Control and Mobility for our Older Population
    This Pocket Guide assists transportation professionals in making decisions about the use of traffic control devices, taking into account the unique needs of the Nation's older road users.

  • Older Driver and Pedestrian Design Workshop
    The FHWA offers a 1-day training workshop to thoroughly review the recommendations and guidelines contained in the Highway Design Handbook for Older Drivers and Pedestrians. Interactive methods are used to help participants fully understand the changes that occur with aging. Modifications to the roadway system are identified that can make it easier for older drivers and all drivers. Case studies are used during the workshop. The workshop is designed primarily practicing highway and traffic engineers responsible for highway design and operations. For additional information, contact Gene Amparano, or contact the Federal Highway Division Office in your State.

  • Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices
    The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, or MUTCD, defines the standards used by road managers nationwide to install and maintain traffic control devices on all streets and highways. The Manual is important as it provides national traffic control standards for all public roads, and includes traffic signals, signs, roadway stencils, pedestrian crossings, and bicycle and pedestrian treatments. The Highway Design Handbook for Older Drivers and Pedestrians, being updated this year, is provided leading research information which may, as verified and tested, become standards in the MUTCD in future years.

    The electronic version of the MUTCD 2009 is the most current edition on the MUTCD Web site and is the official FHWA publication.

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Federal and State Older Road User Programs

Federal

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Community Resources for Promoting Older Road User Safety

  • AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety
    The Mission of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is to identify traffic safety problems, foster research that seeks solutions, and disseminate information and educational materials. The Foundation’s current research projects links to an updated description of the named project, including achieved milestones. Recently completed research projects are listed under the “Completed Projects” header below.

  • National Center on Senior Transportation
    The National Center on Senior Transportation is funded through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration and with guidance from the U.S. Administration on Aging. NCST is administered by Easter Seals Inc. in partnership with the .

  • American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)
    The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) Public Policy Institute has done a considerable amount of research into older driver transportation needs, habits, physical limitations, and dependency on automobiles. Their Website on Older Drivers and Automobile Safety reports on what older drives need to know to drive safely.

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Articles on Older Road Users and Pedestrians

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eSubscribe

Program Contact

Becky Crowe
Program Manager

804-775-3381

Highlights

A Guide for Reducing Collisions Involving Older Drivers

NEW Handbook for Designing Roadways for the Aging Population