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Faculty Member Bernard Dworsky Researches the Needs of Older Drivers

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Senior Drivers

 

Bernard Dworsky's assessment of the needs of Delaware's older drivers has spurred policy changes and programs.

Professor assesses the needs of Delaware's older drivers

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 population increases.

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 aging drivers.  

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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