National Older Driver Research and Training Center

Examining issues surrounding older driver assessment, remediation, rehabilitation, and the use of alternatives to the car.

Publications - ICADI

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The Impact Of Roadway Intersection Design On The Simulated Driving Performance of Young and Senior Adults

Presenters: Shechtman, Orit; Classen, Sherrilene; Stephens, Burton; Davis, Ethan

Abstract

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) proposed guidelines for highway design to increase the safe driving ability of older drivers; however, little empirical evidence exists to support these guidelines. This study investigated the effects of improved vs. unimproved intersections using a high-fidelity driving simulator. Kinematics measures and behavioral evaluations were obtained to determine if driving performance during negotiation of improved intersections was safer for older (65-85 years) and younger (25-45) drivers. Five pairs of intersections were compared. Three of the five comparisons indicated significantly greater lateral control stability (as measured by maximum yaw rate) during turns at the improved intersections. This preliminary report is based on data from 19 subjects (5 young and 14 older adults). Despite the small sample size, the findings of the present study suggest that some of the FHWA guidelines for implementing safe road conditions are helpful in defining intersection characteristics that could lead to safer driving by both older and younger adults. These results may yield critical information for engineers, planners, policy makers and others involved in the design of roadway systems to enhance safe driving.

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