Journal Article

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


Objective: To explore factors which 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 over-represented 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 behaviour 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 behaviours. Conclusion: Multiple individual (attitudes, perceived behavioural control, walking time, time-to-arrival judgements, 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 non-restrictive waiting times. Signalised 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 programmes may also help ensure safety of older adults where there is no designated crossing place.

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Wilmut, Kate
Purcell, Catherine

Oxford Brookes departments

Department of Psychology, Health and Professional Development


Year of publication: 2021
Date of RADAR deposit: 2021-01-05

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

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