|Title||Evaluation of work zone design features to aid older drivers|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2011|
|Authors||Heaslip K, Collura J, Knodler J.Michael A|
|Journal||Institute of Transportation Engineers. ITE Journal|
|Keywords||Aged drivers, Comprehension, Design practices, Evaluation and assessment, Field studies, Focus groups, Lane closure, Rural highways, Speed, Tapers (Work zone traffic control), Variable message signs, Work zone safety, Work zone traffic control, Work zones|
Work zones can present a special challenge to older drivers, who may have slower responses to unexpected situations. This paper discusses the results of a study conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of selected work zone design guidelines from the Federal Highway Administration’s Highway Design Handbook for Older Drivers and Pedestrians. A field study was conducted along a rural segment of highway in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Design features evaluated included lane closure/lane transition practices and portable variable message signs (VMS). A focus group was conducted to assess the perceptions of older drivers regarding the work zone configuration. The field study results indicate that the design features evaluated were effective in changing driver expectations, which may improve highway safety. The VMS had a significant effect on driver speed selection. Signage and the flashing arrow board helped drivers maneuver safely through the work areas. The focus group data also indicated that the design features improved driver comprehension. Directions for further research are discussed.