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U.S. Department of Transportation U.S. Department of Transportation Icon United States Department of Transportation United States Department of Transportation
FHWA Highway Safety Programs

Step Up for Older Pedestrians

Older adults are over represented among pedestrian fatalities in the U.S., prompting designers and planners to improve crosswalks for vulnerable pedestrians. In 2018, people 65 years and older represented 18 percent of U.S. pedestrian fatalities, while only making up 16 percent of the total U.S. population.1 Because seniors may walk at a slower pace and have difficulty negotiating poor walking surface conditions, they may require longer gaps in traffic to cross roads at both signalized intersections and midblock locations.2,3

Countermeasures such as pedestrian refuge islands, Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs) and raised crosswalks support safer crossings for people of all ages. Refuge islands provide opportunity for the pedestrian to cross the road in two stages. Leading Pedestrian Intervals (LPIs) allow the pedestrian to enter the crosswalk several seconds ahead of turning vehicle traffic at signalized intersections. Raised crosswalks increase visibility of the pedestrian with no step down into or up from the crosswalk to the sidewalks.

For more information about these and other countermeasures to improve pedestrian crossing safety, visit the FHWA Safe Transportation for Every Pedestrian (STEP) program website: www,fhwa.dot.gov/safety/pedestrian-bicyclist/step


1Pedestrians, 2018 Data. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS)
https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812850

2Tournier, I., Dommes, A., & Cavallo, V. (2016). Review of safety and mobility issues among older pedestrians. Accident; Analysis and Prevention, 91, 24-35. doi:10.1016/j.aap.2016.02.031

3Ferenchak, N. N. (2016). Pedestrian age and gender in relation to crossing behavior at midblock crossings in India. Journal of Traffic and Transportation Engineering (English Edition)3(4), 345-351. doi:10.1016/j.jtte.2015.12.001

 

Last updated: Tuesday, June 30, 2020