Street designs unfriendly to elders, report shows
Two-thirds of transportation planners and engineers do not address the needs of senior citizens in their planning, according to a report from Washington-based AARP. “Planning Complete Streets for the Aging of America” analyzes the need for a new approach to road planning in light of U.S. Census predictions that by 2025, 64 million people will be 65 or older, and by 2030 one quarter of the nation’s drivers will be over 65.
The report recommends that federal, state and local highway and street design guidelines reduce vehicle travel speeds at intersections where older drivers and pedestrians need more time to make decisions and execute changes; make the physical layout of roads, crosswalks and sidewalks easier to navigate; and make visual cues and information more easily noticed, read and understood by older drivers and pedestrians. “Improvements can reduce older driver crashes and pedestrian injuries without adversely affecting traffic. In many instances, local travel flow and accessibility are improved,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP executive vice president for social impact, in a statement. “But while a growing number of states and localities have Complete Streets policies [that require streets to be designed to accommodate pedestrians, cars and public transportation simultaneously and safely], too few have been built.”
View the “Planning Complete Streets for the Aging of America” report.