This paper examines the ways in which the use of intersections by older persons, both as pedestrians and as drivers, could be made safer and easier. The paper is in three main sections. In the first, accident statistics for older persons are examined with a focus on intersections. Next, possible improvements in the design and operation of intersections are investigated. The paper concludes with a summary of the major findings and recommendations. It was found that the safety of older persons at intersections could be increased if alternative road designs were explicitly evaluated at the planning stage in terms of their future safety repercussions. Specific design elements that are reviewed for their potential effects on safety and cost are the decision to provide a left-turn lane and the question of sight distance at intersections. Once an intersection has been designed and constructed, one must look to changes in intersection operation to improve safety. It was found that there is no consensus on the safety effect of changing the level of traffic control from none to a Yield sign and from that to a Stop sign. Converting two-way Stop control to multiway Stop control reduces accidents by about 40%, but delay and stops by motorists are substantially increased. It appears that there is no economic justification for the use of the multiway Stop. The decision on when and where to use traffic signals raises similar problems. An examination was made of the economic comparison of accidents saved by designing for a walking speed of 3 ft/sec instead of 4 ft/sec. It appears that the delay to main-road traffic usually swamps savings in pedestrian accidents. However, were one to impute a cost for the anxiety of those pedestrians who walk at less than 4 ft/sec, the outcome of the economic analysis could be reversed. On the provision of separate pedestrian signals, it was noted that pedestrians may not know what the flashing signals mean. Basic questions remain concerning the values assigned to life or time, and the attitude that once estimates have been published, they can be manipulated as if one were dealing with measured properties of inanimate matter.

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  • Accession Number: 00489616
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0-309-04664-5
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Nov 30 1989 12:00AM