Older Pedestrian Characteristics for Use in Highway Design

Source: Federal Highway Administration

A detailed task analysis and literature review were conducted to identify the aspects of the pedestrian's tasks that are difficult for older persons, including motor, sensory, perceptual, cognitive, and behavioral factors. Several activities were undertaken to identify specific problems experienced by older pedestrians that could be addressed by changes in design standards and operational practices. These activities included analysis of accident exposure data, a survey of older pedestrians, focus group disucssions, and a survey of practitioners. It was determined that older pedestrians experience difficulties at signalized intersections and often do no have sufficient time to cross.

A field study was conducted to determine the walking speed, startup time, and stride length of older pedestrians. More than 7,000 pedestrians in 4 cities were observed in order to measure these parameters. Specific recommendations for changes to highway design and operational practices are described.

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