U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590
The scan team firmly believes that much can be gained in the United States by implementing the systems approach to safety and promoting the types of innovative partnerships it observed in the countries visited. To that end, the scan team plans a number of technical presentations and papers at national meetings and conferences sponsored by FHWA, AASHTO, and other organizations to disseminate information from the scan. The team also formed a subgroup to draft a scan implementation plan for the initiatives and strategies described above.
The success of this international scan can be measured by the number of ideas brought back to the United States and translated into strategies that will improve safety and mobility for older road users. Below are the initial strategies that the scan team developed from the knowledge it acquired on this scan and that it believes are the most critical for making progress in the United States. These strategies, while aimed at older persons, will improve safety for all road users.
The first implementation item is to integrate the knowledge of infrastructure improvements from Australia and Japan into relevant U.S. documents (e.g., FHWA's Highway Design Handbook for Older Drivers and Pedestrians) and training programs. FHWA is updating the handbook, and a revised version is expected in spring 2009. The implementation plan calls for a subsequent updating of the training curriculum and the development of a 1-hour briefing for DOT executives. The effort on this implementation item will include consideration of how state strategic highway safety plans could include infrastructure changes that would especially benefit older road users, as suggested in the FHWA handbook.
The second implementation item is to encourage partnerships between government agencies, such as departments of transportation and health, and nongovernment organizations (e.g., American Association of Retired Persons, American Automobile Association, National Optometric Association) to address the needs of older road users. Joint activities may include driver training and self-assessment programs, visual screening, pairing of transport planning with retirement planning, and development of educational materials on a variety of mobility topics.
The scan implementation team has also created a plan to develop a research program on policies and interventions targeted at older road users. The program will cover evaluation of specific interventions aimed at improving safety and mobility for older road users, development of new procedures and tools to aid practitioners in making decisions, and sharing of information on best practices through synthesis documents and professional conferences.
The fourth implementation item is to develop planning and land development guidelines for congregate housing and related transportation facilities and services intended to meet the growing needs of older populations and older road users. The guidelines would be developed to assist local governments and the development community in planning and retrofitting existing facilities, as well as to help local governments evaluate land development proposals as they relate to older populations and older road users. The proposal could become a joint-venture research project developed cooperatively by national transportation and land development organizations.
The last implementation idea arose from presentations on research that showed that one barrier to using transit was older users' fear of falling because of sudden starts and stops. The implementation team will evaluate the need for new training materials for professionals who provide alternative means of transport (e.g., transit, taxis, etc.) to educate them on the needs and capabilities of the elderly. To implement this training, the team will work with government and industry partners (e.g., Federal Transit Administration and American Public Transportation Association) to disseminate these materials throughout the profession. The team is aware of some existing training and educational materials and will assess how agencies have used them.
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