The driving environment has changed dramatically since most older adults became drivers. Roadways today are much more congested and complex than they were when they learned to drive. Roadway improvements designed to compensate for the age-related changes can make the task of negotiating today's roads and highways not only easier, but safer for everyone.
The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) State Traffic Engineering and Operations Office handles issues related to aging drivers, traffic studies, intersection operations, signing, pavement marking, signals and traffic engineering standards for the State Highway System. If you have traffic related concerns on a state maintained road, you can locate a District Traffic Operations Engineer for your county.
The FDOT implements roadway improvements responding to revised design standards based on the Federal Highway Administration's Highway (FHWA) Handbook for Designing Roadways for the Aging Population. You can find specific information and links to the standards and guidelines for the roadway improvements that have been implemented on the State Highway System to benefit aging road users on the FDOT website.
These roadway improvements are part of the state's standards. These improvements fall under the following areas:
- Increasing Visibility (6-inch wide pavement markings, lighting, reflective pavement markers, and larger lettering on guide signs)
- Florida Paves the Way for Senior Drivers, article by Edmunds about improved pavement markings and other improvements.
- Improving Pedestrian Features (refuge islands, slower walk speeds, high-emphasis crosswalks)
- Providing Advanced Notification (advance guide signs, advance stop, warning, and yield signs)
Read the article about this important initiative in the Public Roads magazine titled A Golden Opportunity to Make Travel More Golden.
Sometimes called the safest form of traffic control in the world, roundabouts are circular intersections with no traffic signal, where vehicles flow around a center island, and are also some of the most attractive features in modern roadway design. While roundabouts help eliminate a number of safety problems, they can be confusing for drivers. FDOT has developed the following educational materials to help safely navigate roundabouts:
- Alert Today Florida's Guide to Modern Roundabouts
- A Guide to 1-lane Roundabouts brochure
- A Guide to 2-lane Roundabouts brochure
The Sumter County Board of County Commissioners in cooperation with the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office has an educational guide to navigating roundabouts in Sumter County. If you have any questions regarding this information, please contact the Sumter County Public Works Department at 352-793-0240. Please click here to view the brochure.
The Sumter County Sherriff's office provides a short video on navigating roundabouts on their website at Easy Guide to Navigating Roundabouts.
By their nature intersections can be the most dangerous of roadway features. They are the one place where all road users come together in a mix that has the greatest potential for conflict. More information on other policies and innovations regarding Intersections is available on the FDOT website.
All Turnpike tolls are collected electronically between Exit 53 and Exit 1 and at Milepost 0X, from south of Ft. Lauderdale to Miami and Homestead, on the Sawgrass Expressway located west of Fort Lauderdale, and on the Veterans Expressway and the I-4 Connector in Tampa. Motorists use either SunPass or TOLL-BY-PLATE, and everyone pays tolls without having to stop. . To learn more information and view a map, you can access this link: All About Electronic Tolling.
These signals consist of a regular pedestrian signal with standard shapes and color, and an added display showing the number of seconds left to safely cross the street. For more information, FDOT has developed an Countdown Pedestrian Signal educational tip card.
The flashing yellow arrow is a new type of signal indicator for permissive left turns. They are the result of a national study conducted by the Federal Highway Administration, which demonstrated that the new signal indicator:
- Is a low-cost safety measure to help prevent crashes.
- Moves more traffic through an intersection. Provides additional traffic management flexibility.
- Provides a clear distinction between when motorists who are turning left are protected from oncoming traffic and when they must yield.
How They Work
- Red arrow means STOP and remain stopped. No left turns allowed.
- Yellow arrow means prepare to stop or complete your left turn if you are in an intersection.
- Flashing yellow arrow means left turns allowed. Yield to oncoming
traffic and pedestrians. The oncoming traffic has green light.
- Green arrow means GO. It is safe to turn left, oncoming traffic must stop.
FDOT will be installing flashing yellow arrow signals at various locations throughout the state. For more information, visit http://www.fdot.gov/traffic/.
Resources and information tailored specifically for planners and engineers who are interested in designing for safety and usability for aging drivers can be accessed on the FLSams.org Engineer and Planner Resources page.
To find out about current construction information on Florida's highways, please visit the FDOT's Florida Highway Construction Information website.
The 511 Traveler Information System provides free real-time traffic and travel information on all of Florida’s interstates, toll roads and other major metropolitan roadways. The 511 system helps motorists stay up-to-date on crashes, congestion, construction, severe weather and emergency evacuation and more.
There are five convenient ways for all motorists to receive traffic updates:
- Call 511 toll free for updates in English and Spanish.
- Visit FL511.com for interactive roadway maps showing traffic congestion and crashes, travel times and traffic camera views.
- Sign up for a “My Florida 511” account at FL511.com to create custom routes and register for email, text or phone alerts.
- Download the free Florida 511 mobile app available on Google Play or Apple App Store.
- Follow one of the 13 statewide, regional or roadway-specific Twitter feeds (#FL511).
You can learn more about 511 and view the roadways that are covered by 511 on their website. For a 511 video designed specifically for aging drivers go to our YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/user/FLsafemobility.
Road Ranger Service Patrol
The FDOT's Road Ranger Service Patrol has become one of the most effective elements of the incident management program created by the FDOT. It is their mission to provide free highway assistance services during incidents to reduce delay and improve safety for the motoring public and responders. The Road Ranger Service Patrol consists of roaming vehicles, which patrol congested areas and high incident locations along urban freeways and have equipment to assist drivers (such as booster cables, jacks, sand, fire extinguishers, first aid kits, reflective cones, etc.).
Stranded motorists just need to dial *FHP (*347) to access the Road Ranger Dispatch.
Benefits of the program include:
- Reduction of crashes
- Reduction of incident duration by assisting the Florida Highway Patrol
- Assistance to disabled or stranded motorists
- Removal of road debris
You can learn more about the Road Ranger Service Patrol on their website.
Human factors studies are a vital component to help us gain a better understanding and compare a roadway design improvement or proposed safety countermeasure with its actual effect on the road user, before we install on our roadway system. Especially since drivers of all ages may not respond to the design as expected. Providing engineers and planners a deeper understanding of driver behavior promotes FDOT’s goal to create safer roadways for users of all ages. The Safe Mobility for Life Program has been working with Florida State University, Department of Psychology to conduct human factors studies with younger, middle-aged, and older adults to help us gain a better understanding of changes that could benefit aging road users. Here are summaries and links to the final reports for these research projects:
- Aging Driver and Pedestrian Safety Human Factors Studies, Summary [PDF - 365 KB], Final Report [PDF - 2,686 KB]
- Aging Driver and Pedestrian Safety: Parking Lot Hazards Study, Summary [PDF - 268 KB], Final Report [PDF - 2,330 KB]
- Aging Road User, Bicyclist, and Pedestrian Safety: Human Factors Studies Phase 3, Effective Bicycling Signs and Preventing Left-turn Crashes, Summary [PDF - 809 KB], Final Report [PDF - 1,900 KB]
Our first project, the "Aging Driver and Pedestrian Safety Human Factors Studies" was recognized as one of 16 high value research projects by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) in 2013.
- NHTSA's Clearinghouse for Older Road User Safety https://www.roadsafeseniors.org/resources/safer-roads
- The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has developed a Roundabout Question and Answer page on their website and also a two-minute video on How Roundabouts Work
- Liberty Mutual has an article in their magazine on Roundabouts
- The Traffic Improvement Association of Michigan (TIA) has a comprehensive YouTube video to help educate about Modern Roundabouts
- AAA Foundation produced a report on Pedestrian Signal Safety
- Time Magazine wrote an article on Roundabouts
- US 41, Sarasota, FL Roundabout Design Website
- Florida Roundabout Safety Video