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A review of the Irish road networks infrastructure barriers to older peoples mobility: current policy and literature
Fenton, Valerie; Caulfield, B. (Brian); Ahern, Aoife
Irish Transport Research Network Annual Conference (ITRN2012), University of Ulster, Belfast, UK, 29th – 30th August, 2012 Over the next thirty years in Ireland, the population aged over 65 is estimated to grow considerably. The maturation of the ‘baby boom’ generation will transform the demographics of the country. In our current and future aging society, transport and mobility are key factors in facilitating active aging. In general, older people now travel more than before, have higher levels of car ownership and are more likely to continue to drive for longer. Modal shift to more sustainable modes of transport is simply not practical for older people living in areas with limited public transport. Older people, who are suffering from ailments, will tend to cease walking long before they cease driving. Maintaining mobility is crucial in later life. The lack of transport alternatives, in the short term, can be bridged by enabling older people to continue to drive safely for longer. A need exists for alternative travel modes and will become more pertinent given the increase in the number of older people who can no longer drive but will still require mobility. While older drivers have fewer reported crashes per capita in developed countries, extreme driving conditions place excessive demand on their abilities compared to younger drivers. A reason for older drivers over representation in certain types of crashes can be contributed to road design which follows standards based primarily on measures of performance of young males. By improving the road network for older people it will encourage and assist them to stay mobile for longer and improve safety for all other users. This paper identifies the deficit in the Irish road networks design and research in catering for the older driver through a review of the research literature and highway design policy and through an interrogation of collisions involving older drivers identifies the key highway design and behaviour indicators that contribute to older driver collisions in an Irish context. The issue for road safety will be whether the increase in older driver exposure is offset by the improvement in design, training and alternative travel mechanisms. Monitoring and future research of these components will be crucial to determine the success of these measures in assisting older driver’s safety and longevity on the network. 2019-09-09 JG: Author Brian Caulfield not to be confused with UCD homonym
Keyword(s): Road safety; Active aging; Road design
Publication Date:
Type: Other
Peer-Reviewed: Unknown
Language(s): English
Institution: University College Dublin
Publisher(s): Irish Transport Research Network
First Indexed: 2013-08-13 05:15:56 Last Updated: 2019-09-11 06:32:17