U.S. Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
Washington, DC 20590

Skip to content
Facebook iconYouTube iconTwitter iconFlickr iconLinkedInInstagram

Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

Public Roads
This magazine is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information.
Public Roads Home | Current Issue | Past Issues | Subscriptions | Article Reprints | Guidelines for Authors: Public Roads Magazine | Sign Up for E-Version of Public Roads | Search Public Roads
Back to Publication List        
Publication Number:  FHWA-HRT-17-006    Date:  September 2017
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-17-006
Issue No: Vol. 81 No. 2
Date: September 2017


Internet Watch

by Carrie Boris

A Clear Resource for Older Road User Safety

Driving is a complex task. It depends on visual, cognitive, and physical functions that enable a person to see traffic and road conditions; recognize what is seen, process the information, and decide how to react; and physically act to control the vehicle. Functional decline associated with aging can affect driving ability.

Nearly one in five drivers is over 65 years old, and drivers over 65 are one of the fastest growing demographic groups among U.S. motorists. As the Nation’s driving population ages, resources addressing the needs of those drivers become increasingly important.

To help, the Roadway Safety Foundation teamed up with the Federal Highway Administration, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and two leading information technology developers to launch the Clearinghouse for Older Road User Safety (ChORUS) in late 2015 at www.roadsafeseniors.org. ChORUS serves as a centralized, user-friendly, and dynamic source of information on highway safety for aging drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists.

“ChORUS is a collaborative partnership designed to promote lifelong independent mobility for our aging population,” says Guan Xu, a program manager in FHWA’s Office of Safety.

The site’s resources are as comprehensive as its audience is diverse. Highway engineers can find technical manuals; motor vehicle administrators can find State-by-State licensing policies; medical professionals can find the latest research; older drivers can find self-assessments and tips; and family and caregivers can find a supportive online community.

Built as a comprehensive resource, ChORUS covers all three major components of highway safety: safe roadways, safe road users, and safe vehicles.

Safe Roadways

Communities across the country can realize tremendous safety gains by implementing proven and cost-effective design features and crash countermeasures on their roads. From retroreflective signage that helps older drivers navigate at night to left-turn lanes that improve sight distance at intersections and prevent deadly right-angle crashes, infrastructure solutions are integral to enhance safety for the aging road user. ChORUS provides quick and easy access to design guidelines for the aging population, technical documents, case studies and success stories, and information about innovative financing solutions.

Safe Road Users

ChORUS includes a wealth of information designed to support aging drivers, from self-assessments and links to refresher courses, to State-specific licensing information. Recognizing that driving is simply not an option in all cases, the clearinghouse also promotes safe cycling and walking, provides support for families and caregivers concerned about their loved ones, and highlights alternative transportation options that may be available.

Screen capture of the home page of the Clearinghouse for Older Road User Safety Web site.


Safe Vehicles

The greatest risk to aging drivers is fragility that makes crash survival and recovery more difficult. As such, this is a group that especially stands to benefit from vehicle safety technologies both emerging (such as forward collision mitigation) and familiar (such as well-designed crumple zones). ChORUS promotes safer vehicles for seniors by featuring a range of consumer-friendly information, including education on how to interpret safety and crash ratings, overviews of cutting-edge technologies, and simple tips on helpful features to look for in any car (such as wider mirrors). The site also includes a wealth of resources for researchers, engineers, industry, the media, and others who help advance vehicle safety.

An Up-to-Date Resource

ChORUS is managed by a team of specialists in highway safety, gerontology, and information technology. A group of subject matter experts provides input on content governance and oversight. FHWA, through a cooperative agreement with the Roadway Safety Foundation, provides input on ChORUS content, tools, and programs related to safer road designs and best practices for improving community safety through infrastructure enhancements. NHTSA is responsible for information and resources pertaining to its areas of expertise, particularly driver behavior initiatives and motor vehicle safety, including recalls.

The resources on the site are organized into six categories: safer roads, being a safer road user, safer vehicles, family/caregiver resources and alternative transportation, research, and policy, enforcement, and medical fitness. Users can browse within categories, or search for specific information narrowed by category, resource type, State, and keywords.

“Staying active and connected can promote healthy aging,” says Bruce Hamilton, director of Safety and Research Programs with the Roadway Safety Foundation. “ChORUS was developed with this ultimate goal in mind.”

For more information, visit www.roadsafeseniors.org or contact Guan Xu at guan.xu@dot.gov.

Carrie Boris is a contributing editor for Public Roads.



Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000
Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center | 6300 Georgetown Pike | McLean, VA | 22101