Older Pedestrians - Meeting Their Safety and Mobility Needs
Crashes involving pedestrians are severe in nature and constitute a substantial proportion of serious injuries and deaths on the road. Moreover, many involve older adults. This paper discusses the contributing factors to increased crash and injury risk for older pedestrians including behavioural, vehicle and environmental factors. Walking is an essential part of many trips, however, the road environment is becoming more complex. The dominance of vehicles, high speed and traffic volumes on many roads used by pedestrians, places high demands on an older person s adaptability, whilst ageing can diminish the capacity to cope with many traffic situations. Older adults, therefore, experience many problems using the transport system, largely because it does not adequately accommodate their special needs and capabilities. Further, the design features of frontal structures of vehicles can greatly affect pedestrian injury outcome. In this paper, world best-practice strategies and initiatives for managing the safe mobility of older pedestrians are identified and described, including the principles of road safety strategies in countries that are world leaders in road safety. Costeffective initiatives are discussed such as programs that promote safe walking practices, improvements to vehicle frontal design to optimise the protective capabilities of vehicles, and innovative engineering treatments that aim to improve the crashworthiness of the road transport system and be more forgiving of vulnerable road users. Several examples are described including measures to moderate vehicle speeds in high pedestrian activity areas, measures to separate or restrict vehicular and non-vehicular traffic, and measures to reduce the complexity of the road environment. Recommendations for a system-wide approach for the management of older pedestrian safe mobility are provided.