Wednesday, May 27, 2009

AARP releases recommendations on making streets friendlier for older folks

AARP Public Policy Institute Releases “Planning Complete Streets for an Aging America

This report addresses the need to create Complete Streets that are safe and convenient for travel by automobile, foot, bicycle and transit regardless of age or ability. The study encourages roadway planners and engineers to approach road design through the lens of Complete Streets and employ design strategies that support older drivers and pedestrians. Findings from original research conducted for this study show that:

· Two-thirds of planners and engineers report that they have not yet begun considering the needs of older road users in their multi-modal planning.

· More than 80 states and localities have adopted Complete Streets policies, but less than one-third of these explicitly address the needs of older road users.

· Forty percent of adults age 50 and older report inadequate sidewalks in their neighborhoods. More sobering, nearly 50 percent report they cannot cross main roads close to their home safely.

The report suggests revisions to five intersection treatments in the Federal Highway Design Handbook for Older Drivers and Pedestrians to better balance the needs of both older drivers and pedestrians.

The paper recommends three basic planning and design principles:

Slow Down – Engineer roadways to reduce vehicle travel speeds in areas where drivers and pedestrians interact and where older drivers and pedestrians need more time to make decisions.

Make It Easy - Make the physical layout of the transportation network easy to navigate for older drivers and pedestrians by creating a connected network of streets with lower-speed routes and intersections that are easier to maneuver.

Enjoy the View - Make it easy for drivers and pedestrians to notice, read, understand, and respond to visual cues by reducing sign clutter, creating better access management, and improving landscaping, signs, and lighting to make the roadway more intuitive.

Find the report at:

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