Exploring traffic safety problems and challenges of older roads’ users in Louisiana: Causes and countermeasures

Statistics published by the U.S. Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety administration (NHTSA, 2017) indicated that there were 6,784 people age 65 and older killed in traffic crashes in the United States in 2017, representing 18 percent of all traffic fatalities. Although the population of people 65 and older increased by 31 percent from 2008 to 2017, traffic crash fatalities in that age group increased by 22 percent over this period. These figures can be explained due to several mobility and traffic safety challenges encountered by older adults while using roads as pedestrians or drivers. For example, prior research indicates that older pedestrians exhibit declining walking skills (e.g., decreased walking speed, reduced stability while walking, and less efficient wayfinding strategies), and a greater tendency to engage in unsafe crossing behaviors. Particularly, older adults tend to begin crossing when safe crossing gaps are available in the near lane, but not the far lane (Tournier et al., 2016). Another recent Canadian study (Gargoum et al. 2018) indicated that the design of road infrastructure could have an impact on the risk of traffic collisions for older adults. The findings of this study revealed that available sight distances fell below the stopping sight distance requirements for drivers with limited abilities (e.g., older drivers), particularly in poor driving conditions. Accordingly, it was recommended that changes in the design guidelines for future roadways should reflect the aging driving population. However, little is known about the effect of different types of roadway crossing, geometry and traffic control devices on the safety of older roads’ users. In addition, there is a lack of a solid understanding of older road users’ preferences and needs while crossing different types of pedestrian crossings. As the proportion of older adults continues to increase in USA and elsewhere, it is vital to understand the challenges faced by older roads’ users (drivers and pedestrians), and suggest effective countermeasures to improve their safety and maintain their mobility and independence into later life stages. Therefore, the main objectives of this research are to: (1) Identify the circumstances and precipitating factors contributing to older roads users’ crashes including driver, vehicle and road/environment factors. (2) Identify hotspot locations of crashes involving older road users (drivers/pedestrians). The first two objectives will be addressed through a compressive analysis of traffic collisions database of Louisiana, (3) Examine the effects of changes in the roadways design and traffic control devices on the drivers’ behaviors and safety of aging population. This will be achieved through a driving simulator experiment that will be conducted using LSU driving simulator. (4) Provide a better understanding regarding older pedestrians’ preferences and needs to cross different types of pedestrian crossings safely. This will also include examining older pedestrians’ awareness of their declining abilities and their effects on safety and mobility. To achieve these goals, a questionnaire survey among a representative sample of older pedestrians in Louisiana will be conducted. It is expected that the outcomes of this research will provide better understanding regarding the causes of traffic safety problems of older roads’ users in Louisiana and will accordingly suggest some countermeasures and/or actionable plans to improve the safety of older road users.

Language

  • English

Project

  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $ 90000
  • Contract Numbers:

    20SALSU13

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Transportation Consortium of South-Central States

    Louisiana State University
    Baton Rouge, LA  United States  70803
  • Project Managers:

    Mousa, Momen

  • Performing Organizations:

    Louisiana State University

    3660G Patrick F. Taylor Hall
    Civil and Environmental Engineering
    Baton Rouge, LA  United States  70803
  • Principal Investigators:

    Hassan, Hany

  • Start Date: 20200801
  • Expected Completion Date: 20220201
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01757501
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Consortium of South-Central States
  • Contract Numbers: 20SALSU13
  • Files: UTC, RiP
  • Created Date: Nov 10 2020 8:18AM