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Transportation Colloquia: Transportation Safety in the Digital Age, Roundtable 1: Age-Correlated Operator Performance: Lessons and Insights from Automobile Drivers

06/21/2011, 9:00am to 12:00pm
John A. Volpe National Transportation Systems Center
55 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States
OST-R Office: 
Volpe National Transportation Systems Center

Multiple Speakers

Limitations or failures in human performance cause as many as 85% of transportation-related deaths. Among a host of emerging issues in this area, the topic of performance limitations of inexperienced and aging drivers is increasingly demanding attention on a national level.

This roundtable analyzed and explored driver performance limitations at both ends of the driver age spectrum. Motor vehicle fatalities, injuries and accidents are disproportionately high in these two groups. Invited participants had the opportunity to discuss the following areas of inquiry:

  • What do the demographics of the driving public and transportation operator look like now and into the future? What have states and companies been doing to adapt to these trends?
  • With respect to age, which driver populations are at risk for safety and healthy-related incidents and problems and by how much? What does that risk look like? What are the mediating variables that makes a person in one of these categories more or less at risk?
  • What is the relationship between experience and age-related attributes and conditions in maintaining safe performance and resiliency to hand off-normal situations effectively?
  • What approaches/developments in technology are there and which are needed to augment and/or support safety and performance? What mediating factors need to be considered in the proper adaption to and trust of these new technologies?
  • What evidence is there, if any, regarding justification for moving away from a prescriptive approach to age limitations toward a performance/testing approach for maintaining licenses and certifications? What additional infrastructure or technology would be needed and is it already developed?
  • What additional information or research is needed to inform this discussion? Is this happening now (if so, where)? If not, what are possible opportunities to gather it?

Roundtable Highlights

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Welcome and Introduction

Robert Johns Associate Administrator and Director of the Volpe Center

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Is there a Need to Design Policy and Technology Based on Age?

Stephen Popkin, PhD Director, Human Factors Research and System Applications

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Are Younger and Older Drivers Safer Than They Used to Be?

Anne McCartt, PhD Senior Vice President for Research, Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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New Transportation Technologies Bring New Policy Challenges: Social, Safety & Liability Implications of Driving in the Digital Age

Joseph Coughlin, PhD, Founder and Director, MIT Age Lab and Director of the New England University Transportation Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

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Hazard Anticipation and Attention Maintenance: New Training Programs Reduce Behaviors Associated with the Crashes of Novice and Older Drivers on the Open Road Up to One Year After Training

Donald Fisher, PhD, MPH Professor and Department Head Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

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