Tag Archive for 'Interstate Highway System'

2018 National Work Zone Awareness Week

2018 National Work Zone Awareness Week:

“Expect the Unexpected” In Roadway Construction Work Zones, ARTBA Say 

April 10 Kick-Off in Chicago, April 11 “Go Orange Day” Coincide with Unofficial Start of Construction Season
 What’s happening on the nation’s roadways should always have the full attention of motorists, but it’s even more critical as drivers approach and pass through construction work zones, the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) says.

Paying attention to signs, maintaining safe following distances, signaling intentions and “expecting the unexpected,” are keys to preventing work zone crashes that kill and injure drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and workers.

Over the past five years, over 3,300 people—including an estimated 650 workers—have been killed nationally in work zone crashes, with distracted driving blamed directly for at least 500 of the deaths, according to government data. More than 35,000 people annually are injured at these work sites.

As part of the 19th annual National Work Zone Awareness Week (NWZAW), April 9-13, ARTBA Foundation-managed National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse (www.workzonesafety.org) has produced a free brochure providing tips for safely navigating work zones.

The theme for the 2018 NWZAW is “Work Zone Safety: Everybody’s Responsibility.” An official kickoff was held April 10 at the Jane Byrne Interchange reconstruction project in Chicago. Mark Borkowski chairman of ARTBA state chapter affiliate, the Illinois Road & Transportation Builders Association, represented the ARTBA Foundation at the event.

Wednesday, April 11, is “Go Orange Day,” when transportation professionals and others across the nation are urged to wear orange to show their support for work zone safety. Help spread this important message by taking a selfie or group photo and posting it to social media using the hashtags: #Orange4Safety or #OrangeForSafety.

More information can be found on the NWZAW website.

The National Work Zone Safety Information Clearinghouse, now in its 21st year, handles more than 200,000 requests annually. It provides users with information on accident and crash data, flagging, emerging technologies and equipment, best practices, key safety experts, laws and regulations, safety standards, research publications, training videos and programs, and successful public education campaigns. Materials are available in Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, French, Russian, and Arabic.

For more information about the Clearinghouse operations, contact ARTBA Senior Vice President of Safety & Education Brad Sant.

President Trump Is Cutting Red Tape On Infrastructure Projects

President Trump Is Cutting Red Tape On Infrastructure Projects

IMPROVING ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEWS:  President Trump’s Administration is working together to improve and streamline environmental reviews for major infrastructure projects.

  • Federal agencies are signing the One Federal Decision Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), establishing a coordinated and timely process for environmental reviews of major infrastructure projects.
  • The signatories of the MOU have agreed to an unprecedented level of collaboration in the environmental review process and include the:
    • Departments of the Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy, and Homeland Security
    • Environmental Protection Agency
    • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
    • Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
    • Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
    • Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council
  • One lead Federal agency will be responsible for navigating each major infrastructure project through the entire Federal environmental review and permitting process.
    • Until now, project sponsors have had to navigate decision-making processes across multiple Federal agencies. Federal agencies will work with the lead agency for a project to develop a single Environmental Impact Statement and sign a single Record of Decision.
    • The lead agency will seek written concurrence from other agencies at important points in the process.
  • Federal agencies will follow permitting timetables established by the lead Federal agency, with a goal of completing the process within two years.
    • In the past, Federal agencies were generally not required to follow a comprehensive permitting timetable.
    • Under the MOU, Federal agencies will conduct their review processes at the same time, rather than sequentially, which has led to unnecessary delays.
  • The MOU will ensure interagency issues and disputes are elevated and resolved in a timely manner.
    • Previously, interagency disputes could remain unresolved for years.

DELIVERING STREAMLINED DECISION-MAKING: The One Federal Decision MOU follows through on the President’s policy of streamlining inefficient and lengthy environmental reviews.

  • The MOU will deliver on the President’s policy of One Federal Decision for major infrastructure projects.
  • President Trump’s Executive Order 13807 established a One Federal Decision policy for major infrastructure projects.
    • The Executive Order directed the Office of Management and Budget and the Council on Environmental Quality to develop a framework for implementing One Federal Decision.

CUTTING COSTLY DELAYS:  Inefficient environmental review processes have led to unnecessary delays, depriving our communities of needed infrastructure projects.

  • The MOU improves Federal agency cooperation and ensures Federal agencies establish coordinated permitting timetables for major infrastructure projects, cutting down on needless delays.
  • Too many important infrastructure projects have been held up for years by the environmental review process.
  • The median environmental review completion time for a complex highway project is more than seven years, according to a 2014 Government Accountability Office report.
  • The environmental review and permitting process for the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge Replacement Project in North Carolina took more than 20 years.
    • The environmental review process involved numerous studies and interagency disputes and was subject to extensive delays.
    • The original bridge was well past its design life and is now being replaced with a design that can better withstand the harsh coastal environment.
    • The One Federal Decision framework would have allowed for a much more timely environmental review process.
  • Loop 202, a critical freeway project which will provide an alternative route of travel around Phoenix, took well over a decade to complete the environmental review process.
    • Loop 202’s environmental review faced numerous setbacks and dragged on for years due to poor communication, no agreed upon timetable and other issues.
    • The project, which is the largest in Arizona’s history, is finally in the final stages of development.
    • Had One Federal Decision been in place, agencies could have identified and resolved conflicts throughout project development and reduced their impact on project schedules.

Tom Ewing’s Environmental Update

*  Another request last week for information on autonomous vehicles: US DOT’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is reviewing existing regs “that may need to be updated, modified, or eliminated to facilitate the safe introduction of automated driving systems (ADS) equipped commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) onto our Nation’s roadways.”  More specifically, the agency requests information in 3 broad areas: (1) about scenarios and environments where entities expect that ADS will soon be tested and integrated into CMVs operating on public roads or in interstate commerce; (2) the operational design domains (ODD) in which these systems are being operated or would be tested and eventually deployed; and (3) measures to protect proprietary or confidential business information that might reach the agency.  This process continues and builds on DOT’s “voluntary guidance” work that started last September.  The guidance adopts SAE  (Society of Automotive Engineers) definitions which divide vehicles into five levels based on ‘‘who does what, when.”  Comments are due May 10.

*  EPA proposes adding hazardous waste aerosol cans to the universal waste program under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) regulations. This change, once finalized, could benefit the wide variety of establishments generating and managing hazardous waste aerosol cans, including the retail sector.  EPA writes that new rules would provide “a clear, protective system for managing discarded aerosol cans” and that streamlined universal waste regulations would “ease regulatory burdens on retail stores and others that discard hazardous waste aerosol cans,” promote collection and recycling and encourage the development of municipal and commercial programs to reduce waste quantities being landfilled or combusted.  Comments are due May 15, 2018.

*  Okay, it’s just a rough measure but Federal Register pages totaled 13,815 at the end of the 1st quarter this year.  Same time last year? 16,099 pages.  That’s a negative delta of 2,284 pages over which you didn’t need to twist and distort your eyeballs.  Feeling better?

Tom Ewing
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TRIP Report: ILLINOIS MOTORISTS LOSE $16.4 BILLION ANNUALLY ON ROADS THAT ARE ROUGH, CONGESTED & LACK SOME SAFETY FEATURES- NEARLY $2,500 PER DRIVER

ILLINOIS MOTORISTS LOSE $16.4 BILLION ANNUALLY ON ROADS THAT ARE ROUGH, CONGESTED & LACK SOME SAFETY FEATURES- NEARLY $2,500 PER DRIVER IN SOME AREAS. LACK OF FUNDING WILL LEAD TO FURTHER DETERIORATION, INCREASED CONGESTION AND HIGHER COSTS TO MOTORISTS

 Roads and bridges that are deteriorated, congested or lack some desirable safety features cost Illinois motorists a total of $16.4 billion statewide annually – as much as $2,485 per driver in some urban areas – due to higher vehicle operating costs, traffic crashes and congestion-related delays. Increased investment in transportation improvements at the local, state and federal levels could relieve traffic congestion, improve road, bridge and transit conditions, boost safety, and support long-term economic growth in Illinois, according to a new report released today by TRIP, a Washington, DC based national transportation organization.

The TRIP report, Illinois Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility,” finds that throughout Illinois, more than one-third of major locally and state-maintained urban roads are in poor or mediocre condition and nine percent of locally and state-maintained bridges are structurally deficient. The report also finds that Illinois’ major urban roads are becoming increasingly congested, causing significant delays and choking commuting and commerce.

Illinois motorists lose a total of $16.4 billion per year in the form of extra vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on roads in need of repair, lost time and fuel due to congestion-related delays, and the costs of traffic crashes in which roadway features likely were a contributing factor. The TRIP report calculates the cost to motorists of insufficient roads in the Chicago, Champaign-Urbana, Metro East, Peoria-Bloomington, Rockford and Springfield urban areas. A breakdown of the costs per motorist in each area, along with a statewide total, is below.

The TRIP report finds that 27 percent of major locally and state-maintained roads in Illinois are in poor condition and nine percent are in mediocre condition, costing the state’s motorist an additional $3.5 billion each year in extra vehicle operating costs. These costs include accelerated vehicle depreciation, additional repair costs, and increased fuel consumption and tire wear.

“Illinois’ infrastructure is vital to propel the state forward as an economic powerhouse,” said Illinois Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Todd Maisch. “From Chicago to the Metro East, this report, which reflects similar numbers to that of Illinois state agencies, reveals the reality of Illinois’ transportation systems from congestion to safety. Knowing where our state stands in these areas is crucial to understanding our state’s needs.”

Nine percent of Illinois’ bridges are structurally deficient, with significant deterioration to the bridge deck, supports or other major components.

The Illinois Department of Transportation projects that, under current funding levels, the percentage of state-maintained roads and bridges in need of repairs will increase significantly in the next five years.

Traffic congestion in the state’s largest urban areas is worsening, causing as many as 63 annual hours of delay for the average motorist and costing each driver as much as $1,484 annually in lost time and wasted fuel.

Traffic crashes in Illinois claimed the lives of 4,947 people between 2012 and 2016. Illinois’ overall traffic fatality rate of 1.01 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is lower than the national average of 1.18. The fatality rate on Illinois’ non-interstate rural roads is approximately three times higher than on all other roads in the state (2.28 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel vs. 0.78). The financial impact of traffic crashes cost Illinois drivers a total of $4.7 billion annually.

The efficiency and condition of Illinois’ transportation system, particularly its highways, is critical to the health of the state’s economy. Annually, $2.9 trillion in goods are shipped to, from and within Illinois, relying heavily on the state’s network of roads and bridges. Increasingly, companies are looking at the quality of a region’s transportation system when deciding where to re-locate or expand. Regions with congested or poorly maintained roads may see businesses relocate to areas with a smoother, more efficient and more modern transportation system. The design, construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Illinois supports 154,001 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy.

“These conditions are only going to get worse, increasing the additional costs to motorists, if greater investment is not made available at the state and local levels of government,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Without adequate funding, Illinois’ transportation system will become increasingly deteriorated and congested, hampering economic growth, safety and quality of life.”

Illinois KEY Transportation FACTS

THE HIDDEN COSTS OF DEFICIENT ROADS

Driving on Illinois roads that are deteriorated, congested and that lack some desirable safety features costs Illinois drivers a total of $16.4 billion each year. TRIP has calculated the cost to the average motorist in the state’s largest urban areas in the form of additional vehicle operating costs (VOC) as a result of driving on rough roads, the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion and the financial cost of traffic crashes.

 

ILLINOIS ROADS PROVIDE A ROUGH RIDE

Due to inadequate state and local funding, more than one of every three miles of major urban roads and highways in Illinois are in poor or mediocre condition.  The condition of state-maintained roads and bridges in Illinois is anticipated to decline through 2023 based on current funding.

 

ILLINOIS BRIDGE CONDITIONS

Nine percent of Illinois’ bridges are structurally deficient, meaning there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components. The condition of state-maintained bridges in Illinois is anticipated to decline through 2023 based on current funding.

ILLINOIS ROADS ARE INCREASINGLY CONGESTED

Congested roads choke commuting and commerce and cost Illinois drivers $8.2 billion each year in the form of lost time and wasted fuel. Drivers in the state’s largest urban areas lose thousands of dollars and as much as two-and-a-half days each year in congestion.

 

ILLINOIS TRAFFIC SAFETY AND FATALITIES

Nearly 5,000 people were killed in traffic crashes in Illinois in the last five years. Traffic crashes in which roadway features were likely a contributing factor imposed $4.7 billion in economic costs in 2016.

TRANSPORTATION AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

The health and future growth of Illinois’ economy is riding on its transportation system. Each year, $2.9 trillion in goods are shipped to, from and within Illinois, mostly by truck. Projected increases in passenger and freight movement will place further burdens on the state’s already deteriorated and congested network of roads and bridges. By 2045, total freight tonnage being shipped in, out and within Illinois is projected to grow by 40 percent, with 70 percent of the added tonnage moved by truck.

The design, construction and maintenance of transportation infrastructure in Illinois supports 154,001 full-time jobs across all sectors of the state economy. These workers earn $6.5 billion annually. Approximately 2.6 million full-time jobs in Illinois in key industries like tourism, manufacturing, retail sales, agriculture are completely dependent on the state’s transportation infrastructure network.

Each dollar spent on road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

For the full report visit:

Illinois Transportation by the Numbers: Meeting the State’s Need for Safe, Smooth and Efficient Mobility

TRIP Report: PRESERVING THE MOBILITY AND SAFETY OF OLDER AMERICANS

Executive Summary

Today’s older Americans enjoy a level of mobility and an active lifestyle that far outpaces previous generations. Demographic trends indicate that the number and proportion of older Americans have increased dramatically in recent years and will continue to do so. The provision of transportation improvements that will make it easier for older American’s to maintain their mobility will benefit users of all ages. And anticipated developments in self-driving and connected vehicles have the potential to provide older Americans with additional mobility options in the future.

As the number and proportion of older drivers increases, roadway safety improvements designed to make it easier for older drivers to navigate traffic are becoming increasingly important, as older Americans grapple with the effects of aging while trying to maintain a level of mobility that matches their active lifestyle.

This report explores mobility and safety issues for older Americans and presents a set of recommendations for implementing a transportation system that can better serve the safety and mobility needs of older Americans and the population at large.

older American demographics

Older Americans form a significant proportion of the overall population and a rapidly increasing number and share of licensed drivers. The number and proportion of older Americans is expected to increase dramatically in the coming years.

  • An estimated 46 million Americans are 65 or older, accounting for 15 percent of the total population. By 2060, the number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to more than double to over 98 million, and the proportion of the total population over 65 will rise to nearly 24 percent.
  • The number and proportion of licensed drivers 65 or older has surged in the last decade. From 2006 to 2016, the number of licensed drivers 65 or older has increased 38 percent – from 30.1 million in 2006 to 41.7 million in 2016. The proportion of licensed drivers 65 or older has risen from 15 percent in 2006 to 17 percent in 2012 to 19 percent in 2016.
  • The number of all licensed drivers in the U.S. increased by nine percent from 2006 to 2016 from 202.8 million to 221.7 million and the number of licensed drivers less than 65 increased by four percent from 2006 to 2016 from 172.7 million to 180 million.
  • The number of licensed drivers who are 65 or older increased by 16 percent from 2012 to 2016.
  • The number of all licensed drivers increased by five percent from 2012 to 2016 and the number of licensed drivers less than 65 increased by two percent from 2012 to 2016.
  • California, Florida, Texas, New York and Pennsylvania lead the nation in the number of licensed drivers 65 and older. West Virginia, Florida, Maine, Vermont and Arkansas lead the nation in the proportion of licensed drivers who are 65 years or older. Louisiana, Arkansas, South Carolina, Tennessee and Hawaii have seen the greatest increases in the number of licensed drivers in the last five years. The chart below details the 20 states with the highest number of licensed drivers 65 and older, the highest proportion of licensed drivers 65 and older, and the states with the largest increase in the number of licensed drivers 65 and older from 2012 to 2016. Data for all 50 states can be found in the appendix.

FATALITY AND CRASH RATES AMONG OLDER DRIVERS

The number of older drivers killed or involved in fatal crashes has increased significantly in the last five years, partly due to the increasing number of older drivers and the larger share of drivers who are 65 and older.

  • From 2012 to 2016, there was a 22 percent increase in the number of fatalities in crashes involving at least one driver 65 or older. The number of drivers 65 or older killed in crashes increased 21 percent from 2012 to 2016. Data for all 50 states, as well as a comparison to 2012, can be found in the appendix.
  • The overall number of traffic fatalities in the U.S. increased 11 percent from 2012 to 2016, from 33,782 to 37,461 fatalities.
  • The chart below details the 20 states with the highest number of traffic fatalities in crashes involving at least one driver age 65 or older in 2016, as well as the states with the highest proportion of fatalities in crashes involving at least one driver 65 or older.

 

  • The chart below details the 20 states with the greatest increase between 2012 and 2016 in the number of fatalities in crashes involving at least one driver 65 or older. Nationwide, fatalities in crashes involving at least one driver 65 or older increased 22 percent from 2012 to 2016.

  • The chart below details the 20 states with the highest number of drivers 65 and older killed in traffic crashes in 2016. Data for all 50 states, as well as a comparison to 2012, can be found in the appendix.

OLDER DRIVER MOBILITY AND QUALITY OF LIFE

Older Americans are more mobile and active than ever and want to maintain that lifestyle for as long as possible. Private vehicles remain the overwhelming transportation mode of choice for older Americans. The level of mobility enjoyed by older Americans is closely tied to their quality of life.

  • For those 65 and older, 90 percent of travel takes place in a private vehicle, and for Americans 85 and older, 80 percent of travel occurs in a private vehicle.
  • The majority of older Americans – 79 percent- tend to live in car-dependent suburban and rural communities, which typically require frequent, longer distance trips by automobile.      Because they tend to limit their driving to non-peak hours (typically 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.), older drivers are disproportionately affected by growing levels of congestion. Their window of opportunity for travel narrows considerably as morning and evening rush hours become longer and midday congestion continues to grow.
  • Many older drivers report self-regulating their driving by traveling only on familiar routes during daylight hours, avoiding left turns and sticking to less complex roads with lower traffic volumes during off-peak travel times.
  • More than 600,000 people aged 70 or older stop driving each year and become dependent on others to meet their transportation needs. Men typically outlive their driving days by seven years and women by ten years.
  • Compared with older drivers, older non-drivers in the U.S. make 15 percent fewer trips to the doctor, 59 percent fewer shopping trips and restaurant trips, and 65 percent fewer trips for social, family and religious activities.

CHALLENGES FOR OLDER DRIVERS

Certain situations and driving environments can be especially challenging or hazardous for older motorists. The higher instance of fatalities among older drivers is largely attributable to the physical fragility that makes surviving a crash less likely than younger drivers.

  • Beginning at age 65, the primary danger facing older drivers is their physical fragility, making older drivers much more likely to die when they do crash.
  • Compared to experienced middle-aged drivers, research has found that 60-95 percent of the elevated fatality rates per mile driven for older drivers can be attributed to the fragility that makes surviving a crash more difficult. By comparison, for drivers younger than 20, over-involvement in crashes accounts for more than 95 percent of their excess fatality rates compared with middle-aged drivers.
  • On average, drivers in their mid- to late-eighties have lower crash rates per miles driven than drivers in their early twenties, and roughly half the crash rates of teenagers.
  • In the face of elevated risks, older drivers tend to be very responsible on the road, with a higher rate of seatbelt use than younger drivers, greater avoidance of higher-risk driving environments (such as at night or in rain), and a lower likelihood to drink and drive or be otherwise impaired.
  • As people age, their eyesight, reaction time, cognitive ability and muscle dexterity may deteriorate, often making the tasks associated with driving more difficult. Aging may also limit a body’s range of motion, making it more difficult to scan all directions for nearby vehicles or potential hazards. 
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2016, 37 percent of all fatal crashes where at least one driver was aged 65 or older occurred at an intersection or were related to an intersection. However, for fatal crashes where no driver was aged 65 or older, only 20 percent were at an intersection or intersection related.
  • In 2015 74 percent of traffic fatalities in crashes involving older drivers occurred during the daytime, 70 percent occurred on weekdays, and 67 percent involved other vehicles. This is compared to all fatalities in 2015, where 49 percent occurred during the daytime, 59 percent on weekdays, and 44 percent involved another vehicle
  • Left-hand turns are more problematic for older drivers, as they must make speed, distance and gap judgments simultaneously to enter or cross the through roadway.
  • Deteriorated vision among older drivers may make small or complex road signage difficult to process. Signs may be misunderstood or not seen quickly enough to caution older drivers about upcoming exits, obstacles or changes in traffic patterns. The amount of light needed by drivers doubles every 13 years, starting at age 20. A 72-year-old needs 16 times the amount of light required by a 20-year-old to drive safely.

DRIVING ALTERNATIVES FOR OLDER AMERICANS

Older drivers who decide to give up the keys still have options available for maintaining their mobility, though some may come with challenges or drawbacks. Advancements in self-driving and connected vehicle technology may eventually allow older Americans to retain the convenience of private vehicle travel after they are no longer able to drive.

TRANSIT

  • While public transit offers an alternative to driving, for older Americans, public transit accounts for just two percent of trips.
  • Older Americans may be reluctant to use transit options because they may have difficulty getting from home to the transit pick-up, or from the transit drop off to their ultimate destination. Crowding, long waits and the physical challenges of boarding a bus may also deter older travelers from using available transit options.
  • A significant proportion of older Americans live in rural areas, where transit options may not be readily available. Seventy percent of Americans over fifty live where transit does not exist or serves the area very poorly.
  • Transit systems can be improved to better accommodate older Americans as well as the population at large. These improvements include expanded bus routes; transit vehicles, stops or facilities that better accommodate older or physically challenged passengers; and, additional non-traditional and private sector approaches to transit, including formal and informal ridesharing and taxi services.

RIDE SHARING SERVICES

  • Ride-sharing services like Uber or Lyft can help older Americans maintain their mobility if they are no longer driving. Ridesharing services allow a passenger to use a smartphone app to set a specific pick-up and drop-off point for their trip and summon a private vehicle driven by its owner to complete the trip. However, ride-sharing services often require the use of smartphones, yet less than one -third of Americans over age 65 own a smartphone.
  • Ride-sharing services may not be available or may be limited in rural areas, where many older Americans live.

SELF-DRIVING AND CONNECTED VEHICLES

  • Advances in automotive technology include self-driving vehicles, which do not require the driver to be in control of the vehicle, and connected vehicles, which recognize potential collision situations and allow for crash avoidance through communication between nearby vehicles.
  • Approximately 94 percent of crashes involve human error. Advanced vehicle technology can be of particular assistance to older drivers as it addresses the deficits that may impact motorists as they age. These include identifying vehicles or objects in blind spots, intersection navigation, left turn assist, early warning when vehicles ahead slow or brake suddenly, or warnings when it is not safe to change lanes or pass another vehicle. While these technologies can provide warnings that help drivers avoid a collision, they may also increase distractions behind the wheel.
  • For those who have completely stopped driving, self-driving vehicles may offer the ability to regain their mobility in a private vehicle. However, the timeline for the widespread use of self-driving and connected vehicles is uncertain, and their adoption by older drivers may be slower than that of the general population.
  • In addition to the long timeframe for potential widespread adoption of self-driving vehicles, other uncertainties about the technology still exist, including: the relatively early stage of research and deployment of self-driving technology outside tightly controlled environments, questions about human interactions with the technology, and the potential detriment of overreliance on self-driving technology.
  • While widespread use and adoption of self-driving vehicles may not happen in the near future, many vehicles are already equipped with technological features that are found in self-driving cars. These include adaptive cruise control and headlights; backup and parking assist; blind spot, forward collision and lane departure warning systems; navigation assistance; and integrated Bluetooth capabilities for cell phones. Research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that nearly 60 percent of older drivers surveyed had at least one advanced technology in their primary vehicle.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR IMPROVING MOBILITY AND SAFETY FOR OLDER AMERICANS

The following set of recommendations can improve the mobility and safety of older Americans. These improvements will also improve mobility and safety for all motorists.

SAFER ROADS:

  • Clearer, brighter and simpler signage with larger lettering, including overhead indicators for turning lanes and overhead street signs. This should include minimum levels of retroreflectivity.
  • Brighter street lighting, particularly at intersections, and bright, retroreflective pavement markings. Studies also show that increasing the width of pavement markings from 4 inches to 6 inches helps with decreasing lane departure and crashes, especially with older drivers.
  • Where appropriate, widening or adding left-turn lanes and increasing the length of merge or exit lanes.
  • Where appropriate, replacing intersections with roundabouts can eliminate left turns and slow the speed of traffic through an intersection, both of which address common challenges among older drivers.
  • Where appropriate, widening lanes and shoulders to reduce the consequence of driving mistakes.
  • Adding rumble strips to warn motorists when they are leaving the roadway.
  • Making roadway curves more gradual and easier to navigate.
  • Where appropriate, design and operate roads to accommodate all users of the roadway.
  • Adding countdown pedestrian signals and leading pedestrian intervals, which allow for additional time for pedestrians in the intersection before cars get a green light.
  • Adding refuge islands for pedestrians at intersections.
  • Highway network and transportation system planning, design, maintenance, and operations functions are all likely to require adaptation to meet technical, policy, and legal expectations of a changing vehicle fleet that is technologically connected to other vehicles and the roadway itself.

SAFER ROAD USERS

  • Promotion of education and training programs for older drivers.
  • Raising awareness among older drivers of appropriate safety precautions and seat belt use.

SAFER VEHICLES:

  • Implementing self-driving and connected vehicle technology and the inclusion of additional safety features on new vehicles to address the deficits drivers may face as they age.
  • Improving crashworthiness of vehicles to better protect occupants and withstand impacts.
  • Development of Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) technologies, including crash avoidance technologies.

IMPROVED TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS

  • Ensuring public transit vehicles, facilities and stops are easily accessible and accommodating to elderly or disabled passengers.
  • Expanding bus and transit routes.
  • Implementing non-traditional and public sector approaches that are tailored to the needs of older adults, including ridesharing, volunteer driving programs, door-to-door community transportation services, taxi services, and vehicle donation.

    CONCLUSION

    Older Americans represent an increasing share of the nation’s population and of its licensed drivers. As they strive to maintain the active and fulfilling lifestyles to which they have become accustomed, the nation’s transportation system will need to be improved to accommodate them. Providing transportation improvements that will make it easier for older American’s to maintain their mobility benefits users of all ages.

    For older Americans, as well as the population in general, the ability to travel represents freedom, activity, and choice. Older Americans prize their mobility and active lifestyles and want to maintain them as long as possible, often by maintaining their ability to drive.

    Improvements in roadway design, additional highway safety features, expanded transportation options, driver education and the development of self-driving and connected vehicles can help older Americans maintain their mobility in a safe manner while also providing significant benefits to the larger traveling public.

For full report visit: www.tripnet.org

All data used in this report is the most current available. Sources of information for this report include: The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), ChORUS (Clearinghouse for Older Road User Safety), AAA, The Brookings Institution, Monash University, AARP Public Policy Institute; the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety(IIHS) and the U.S. Census Bureau.

TRIP_Older_Americans_Mobility_Report_Appendix_FINAL_3-13-18