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Why are older adults more at risk as pedestrians? a systematic review

Wilmut, Kate and Purcell, Catherine ORCID: 2021. Why are older adults more at risk as pedestrians? a systematic review. Human Factors 10.1177/0018720821989511

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Objective To explore factors that could explain why older adults are more at risk at the roadside. Background The physical and psychological health benefits of walking have been well-established, leading to the widespread promotion of walking amongst older adults. However, walking can result in an increased risk of injury as a pedestrian at the roadside, which is a greater risk for older adults who are overrepresented in pedestrian casualty figures. Method Relevant databases were searched up to January 2020. All peer-reviewed journals that presented data on healthy older adults and some aspect of road crossing or roadside behavior were included. A total of 142 papers were assessed and 60 met the inclusion criteria. Results Identified papers could be grouped into three areas: crossing at a designated crossing place; crossing with no designated crossing place; perceptions or behaviors. Conclusion Multiple individual (attitudes, perceived behavioral control, walking time, time-to-arrival judgments, waiting endurance, cognitive ability), task (vehicle size, vehicle speed, traffic volume), and environmental (road layout, time of day, weather) constraints influence road crossing in older adulthood. Application Accessibility of designated crossing areas needs to be addressed by ensuring sufficient time to cross and nonrestrictive waiting times. Signalized crossings need to be simplified and visibility increased. Where there is no designated crossing place, a reduction in speed limit alongside the provision of pedestrian islands to provide “pause” places are needed. Educational-based programs may also help ensure safety of older adults where there is no designated crossing place.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License (
Publisher: SAGE Publications (UK and US)
ISSN: 0018-7208
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 1 March 2021
Date of Acceptance: 21 December 2020
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 19:57

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