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Bernard Dworsky's assessment of the needs of Delaware's older drivers has spurred policy changes and programs.
9:07 a.m., Sept. 16, 2011--Research findings on the needs of
Delawares older drivers have served as the impetus for roadway
modifications, improved transportation communication and outreach, and
multifaceted campaigns to improve mobility and safety for senior drivers
across the state.
The 2007 study, led by University of Delaware assistant professor and policy scientist Bernard Dworsky,
assessed the needs of Delawares older drivers and found roadway and
intersection designs, coupled with education and awareness programs,
will become increasingly important for policymakers, transportation
planners, engineers, and social service providers as the states elderly
Delaware is projected to have the 9th largest percentage of elderly
residents to general population by 2030, according to U.S. Census
projections. By 2029, one in four drivers will be over 65.
Safe roads for older drivers are safer roads for everybody, says Dworsky.
His research teams recommendations to the Delaware Department of
Transportation therefore included numerous proposals applicable to the
general population, such as more overhead road signs with larger
letters, standardized traffic lights, and pedestrian countdown signals.
If we follow these [University of Delaware] recommendations, there
are benefits to all users of the roadway, says DelDOTs assistant chief
traffic engineer Mark Zuszcz in a public service video about Delawares
And for aging drivers, adds Dworsky, educational initiatives are especially important to improved roadway safety.
Since his study was published, the state has begun offering
county-wide programs like the Senior Safety Exposition, in which older
drivers can receive health screenings, safety assessments and serves
from the DMV. The next expo will be held Saturday, Oct. 8, from 8
a.m.-noon, at the Dover Division of Motor Vehicles.
For Dworsky, events such as these reinforce the public service mission of a research intensive, land grant institution.
Many times, you may do a report for an agency that sits somewhere
and collects dust, he says. But this has led to a series of events to
increase safety for senior drivers in the state. Its a prime example of
University research and engagement that has the potential to improve
the community, and in this case, the entire state.
About Bernard Dworsky
Bernard Dworsky is a policy scientist and assistant professor in the School of Public Policy and Administrations Institute for Public Administration. His research examines transportation, economic development and policy planning.
Originally published by UDaily.
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