ARSRPE Conference Paper Database

Changes in wayfinding ability with age: use of wayfinding methods and attitudes towards GPS

Charlton, Judith, Oxley, Jennifer, Bryden, K.J., Lowndes, G

Older Drivers/Users


Driving to an unfamiliar location is one of the most difficult driving situations a motorist can face. Furthermore, potential age-related declines in cognitive abilities such as attention and processing speed may make wayfinding while driving even more challenging for some older drivers. A survey of 536 drivers over the age of 65 was conducted to understand more fully the methods used and attitudes to new technologies. Over half of respondents reported some wayfinding difficulty. People who reported more difficulty with wayfinding tended to be older and reported poorer health and cognitive abilities. Drivers who reported poorer wayfinding abilities were more likely to rely on passengers, ask for directions on-route and pull over. Difficulties with wayfinding did not affect future use of GPS or attitudes towards the cost, safety and navigation effectiveness of GPS. The results confirm that wayfinding is a challenging driving task for many drivers over the age of 65 and provide insight into the types of strategies utilised by drivers to assist with wayfinding.