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

This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number: FHWA-RD-97-094
Date: March 1998

Synthesis of Human Factors Research on Older Drivers and Highway Safety

Volume 1: Older Driver Research Synthesis



This research produced a handbook containing highway design and operational recommendations to accommodate older drivers, plus companion synthesis documents summarizing, respectively, the findings of past studies of age differences in driver capabilities, and of experiments and analyses in the area of human factors and highway safety. A relational data base devoted to the present research topics is also described, and future research program recommendations are presented.

This report will be of interest to researchers concerned with issues of older road user safety and mobility, and to transportation engineers, urban planners, and users of current AASHTO and FHWA policies on highway design and operations. Copies of the report are being distributed to FHWA Resource Centers, Division offices, and to State highway agencies.

Additional copies of this document are available from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, Virginia 22161. A charge is imposed by NTIS for copies provided.

A. George Ostensen Director Office of Safety and Traffic Operations Research and Development


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1. Report No.


2. Government Accession No. 3. Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle


5. Report Date

March 6, 1998

  6. Performing Organization Code


7. Author(s)

Loren Staplin, Karlene Ball, Denise Park, Lawrence E. Decina, Kathy H. Lococo, Kenneth W. Gish, and Bari Kotwal

8. Performing Organization Report No.
9. Performing Organization Name and Address

The Scientex Corporation
Transportation Safety Division
P.O. Box 1367
1722 Sumneytown Pike
Kulpsville, PA 19443

10. Work Unit No. (TRAIS)


  11. Contract or Grant No.


12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Office of Safety and Traffic Operations R&D
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101–2296

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Technical Report

April 1, 1997 – March 15, 1998

  14. Sponsoring Agency Code
15. Supplementary Notes

COTR: Joseph Moyer, HSR–30; Gary Golembiewski, SAIC

16. Abstract

The overall goals in this project were to perform literature reviews and syntheses, using meta–analytic techniques, where appropriate, for a broad and comprehensive body of research findings on older driver needs and (diminished) capabilities, and a more focused body of work concerning human factors and highway safety, to support the development of specific research products. The research products completed through these activities included: (1) an applications–oriented Older Driver Highway Design Handbook intended to supplement standard design manuals for practitioners; (2) an Older Driver Research Synthesis, oriented toward human factors professionals and researchers; (3) a Human Factors and Highway Safety Synthesis capturing major findings and trends in studies of driver use of (and difficulties with) a wide range of highway elements; (4) future research program recommendations that are focused on specified applications and are consistent with the needs identified through other work in this project; and (5) the shell of a relational data base (RIDHER) structured to encompass the information elements in these research syntheses. The two synthesis documents in this set of deliverables are published as companion volumes. This is volume I. The other volume in this set is: FHWA–RD–97–095 Volume II: Human Factors and Highway Safety Research Synthesis

17. Key Words

Safety, Age, Driver Performance, Human Factors Vision, Attention, Perception, Cognition, Memory, Physical Ability, Risk Perception, Hazard Perception, Motivation, Highway Design, Highway Operations

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, Virginia, 22161.

19. Security Classif. (of this report)


20. Security Classif. (of this page)


21. No. of Pages


22. Price

Form DOT F 1700.7 (8–72) Reproduction of completed page authorized



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