Older adults present unique mobility challenges. As drivers, older adults face gradual changes in perception, cognition, and physical flexibility that begin to impact their ability to drive safely. Older adults have one of the highest rates of motor-vehicle injury and fatality rates (second only to teen drivers). Yet, opting not to drive, whether by choice or necessity, presents mobility challenges of a different nature for many older Americans, who need transportation options that are accessible, convenient, and affordable. More broadly, mobility choices for older people are also related to land use patterns and the development of livable communities that allow aging in place, or the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably. Efficient and reliable transportation and mobility options play a central role in quality of life for older Americans.
UMTRI researchers are developing better computations for evaluating how age and body type affect the senior population in automobile crashes. According to research professor Matt Reed, current crash test dummies are based on body sizes that are decades old, and do not reflect how posture and age can drastically change the safety of an occupant. His research group is developing computational models of elderly drivers to increase their safety in automobiles.
UMTRI Senior Mobility Resources