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A Unique Safety Partnership: New Jersey's Senior Safety Program, "A Driving Force for Health and Safety"


Seniors are living longer, more mobile and more active lives and represent a significant portion of the population. In 2006, 12 percent of the total U.S. population was 65 and older, and older drivers made up 15 percent of all licensed drivers in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. , a 1 -percent increase from 10 years before.1 It is expected that this type of growth will continue, with drivers 65 and older representing 25 percent of the driving population by 2030.2

New Jersey continues to experience growth in its senior population similar to that seen nationally. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 the 2000 U.S. Census, 13.2 percent of New Jersey's population was 65 or older, with anticipated growth to 13.7 percent in 2010 and 20 percent by 2030.3 Currently, 15 percent of New Jersey drivers are 65 and older. The latest data from the New Jersey Department of Transportation's (NJDOT NJDOT New Jersey Department of Transportation ) Crash Records Database (CRD CRD

See Central Registration Depository (CRD).
) indicate that seniors are involved in approximately 13 percent of the total reportable crashes each year. They represent approximately 18 percent of all the fatalities that occur during the year. Figures 1 and 2 present crash data for the senior population in New Jersey.

With the recognition that the senior population is steadily growing came a study to review and recommend initiatives aimed at improving senior mobility with a focus on senior drivers and pedestrians. The study was to provide strategies to help accommodate the special needs of seniors while improving the overall level of highway safety. The strategies included a combination of improvements in engineering, design, operations, motorist communication and education.

One of the key strategies outlined in the report was to conduct a pilot program that incorporates engineering and education at targeted intersections to make them more senior-friendly and provides health and safety information those seniots.


The Senior Safety Pilot Program (SSPP SSPP System Safety Program Plan
SSPP Society for Service Professionals in Printing
SSPP Shuttle Small Payloads Project
SSPP Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy
SSPP Solar Stellar Pointing Platform
SSPP Saints Peter and Paul school
) initiative loosely followed the U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Highway Administration (FHWA FHWA Federal Highway Administration (US DoT) ) Guidelines guidelines, a set of standards, criteria, or specifications to be used or followed in the performance of certain tasks.
 and Recommendations to Accommodate Older Drivers and Pedestrians three-step process.5 The FHWA process recommends the following:

* Choose site locations based on the problem identification questions:

- demonstrated crash problem?

- design or operation causing complaints or awareness of safety problem?

- increase in population 65 or older?

* Identify appropriate design elements.

* Approve proposed design.

The first step in choosing the site locations was to utilize NJDOT's existing intersection intersection /in·ter·sec·tion/ (-sek´shun) a site at which one structure crosses another.


a site at which one structure crosses another.
 and pedestrian A pedestrian is a person travelling on foot, whether walking or running. In modern times, the term mostly refers to someone walking on a road or footpath, but this was not the case historically. History
Walking is the primary means of human locomotion.
 high-crash location lists generated from the NJDOT CRD. These lists generated approximately 200 locations. These were pared down by comparing the high-density senior population with the crash locations. This generated a more manageable list of 20 locations, with a mix of state highway intersections; county and locally owned intersections; and pedestrian locations. These locations were further screened to eliminate those that were currently under design or construction or those locations where improvements had been made previously.

Three candidate locations were selected, which represented a cross-section of roadway type and environment:

* Route 93 and Grand Avenue (CR 501), Palisades Park Palisades Park, residential borough (1990 pop. 14,536), Bergen co., NE N.J.; inc. 1899. : Urban environment, residential neighborhood, largely Korean-speaking population, senior center within several blocks of the intersection, pedestrian crashes

* Route 22 and Washington Avenue Washington Avenue can refer to:
  • Washington Avenue (Minneapolis), a major street in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Washington Avenue Loft District in Saint Louis, Missouri
  • Washington Avenue (Washington, D.C.
, Green Brook Green Brook is a tributary of the Raritan River in central New Jersey in the United States.

The Green Brook rises in the Watchung Mountains at an elevation of 410 feet (125 m) in Free Acres, (the border of Berkeley Heights and Watchung) and flows east forming the
: Suburban environment, highway commercial with residential off highway, mixed senior population, mainly drivers, few pedestrians, vehicular crashes

* Route 71 and 1st Avenue, AsburyPark: Urban environment, mixed commercial and residential, senior center in the city, pedestrian and bicycle crashes

As this pilot program was in development, NJDOT was contacted by New Jersey's Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS DHSS (Brit) n abbr (formerly) (= Department of Health and Social Security) → Ministerium für Gesundheit und Sozialfürsorge ) to assist in providing signage for the new "Live Long, Live Well Walking Program." In describing NJDOT's initiative to DHSS, it was believed that the current programs to make engineering improvements to enhance the safety at select intersections and the walking program to promote healthy living and walking through DHSS would be a unique safety partnership to advance both initiatives.

OUTREACH Outreach is an effort by an organization or group to connect its ideas or practices to the efforts of other organizations, groups, specific audiences or the general public.  

Once the locations were selected and a new committee formed with DHSS members, the next order of business was to initiate outreach to the pilot location communities. A two-pronged approach was used: NJDOT made contact with the elected officials of the community (mayor, council, engineering and planning); DHSS contacted the county offices of aging and the local senior centers. An initial meeting with each municipality MUNICIPALITY. The body of officers, taken collectively, belonging to a city, who are appointed to manage its affairs and defend its interests.  was held to present the program, outline the steps, ensure that each understood the program expectations and secure their support.


Next in the SSPP process was to review the candidate locations and develop safety improvements. The review effort used by NJDOT was the Safety Impact Team (SIT) process. This process was developed as a joint effort between the FHWA New Jersey Division Office and NJDOT to be used in evaluating NJDOT's Safe Corridor Program. Similar to a road safety audit, the SIT uses a multi-disciplinary team to review 10-mile corridor locations, providing engineering, enforcement and educational recommendations for safety improvements.

Besides NJDOT members, the team consisted of state and local law enforcement, FHWA, motor vehicle services, transit, governor's highway safety, universities, business owners, AAA AAA: see American Automobile Association.

(Triple A) A common single-cell battery used in a myriad of electronic devices of all variety. Like its double A (AA) cousin, it provides 1.5 volts of DC power. When used in series, the voltage is multiplied.
, county and local planning and engineering, elected officials and members of the media.

This process is designed to encourage and foster many different perspectives on providing a safer environment along the selected corridors. All recommendations are recorded so as to encourage varying perspectives, with a feasibility assessment A basic target analysis that provides an initial determination of the viability of a proposed target for special operations forces employment. Also called FA.  of each recommendation performed by the team.

The SIT is a three-day process as follows:

* day 1: introduction and orientation to the corridor location with crash and volume data, geometric and demographic data, future construction projects, adjacent site projects and any unusual site characteristics;

* day 2: on-site field review of the corridor; any and all recommendations recorded; and

* day 3: team review and debrief de·brief  
tr.v. de·briefed, de·brief·ing, de·briefs
1. To question to obtain knowledge or intelligence gathered especially on a military mission.

 of the potential improvements to be categorized cat·e·go·rize  
tr.v. cat·e·go·rized, cat·e·go·riz·ing, cat·e·go·riz·es
To put into a category or categories; classify.

 as short-, medium-, or longterm and a responsible party assigned to lead recommendation efforts.

A final report is developed that memorializes the SIT efforts for each of 14 corridors.

The SIT process was adapted to the SSPP by shortening the duration of the process to one day and adding senior drivers and pedestrians to the team. In addition, members of the county offices of aging and AARP AARP, a nonprofit, nonpartisan national organization dedicated to "enriching the experience of aging"; membership is open to people age 50 or older. Founded in 1958 by Ethel Percy Andrus as American Association of Retired Persons, AARP now has over 30 million  were invited to join the event. The intent of this team makeup makeup

In the performing arts, material used by actors for cosmetic purposes and to help create the characters they play. Not needed in Greek and Roman theatre because of the use of masks, makeup was used in the religious plays of medieval Europe, in which the angels' faces
 was to get a senior driver and pedestrian perspective at these locations. The fact that the SIT was being conducted at a spot intersection instead of a 10-mile safe corridor location allowed for the condensed con·dense  
v. con·densed, con·dens·ing, con·dens·es
1. To reduce the volume or compass of.

2. To make more concise; abridge or shorten.

3. Physics
 nature of the review.

A brief overview and orientation of the location was conducted first, followed by a field review and finally a review of the potential improvements broken down by short-, medium-, or long-term and a low, medium, or high value. The idea of the value assignment was to maximize the available resources to implement the lowcost, high-value improvements as quickly as possible. A final report for each location followed at a later date.


The other component of the SSPP was the walking program established by DHSS to promote healthy living among the senior population through walking in their communities. This program encourages residents age 50 and older to walk their way to better health and improved physical fitness. Participants receive a logbook, hints on safe walking and achievement certificates for 12 consecutive weeks of regular walking. The program currendy boasts 1,525 members recording over 356,000 miles. The average age of walkers is 72; 75 percent are female; 85 percent walk with someone else; and 88 percent said they had increased their level of activity through this program.6

The DHSS health and walking program was introduced differendy for the first pilot intersection location than for the remaining two. At the first location, Route 93, the program was conducted immediately following the SIT. Local elected officials, the county office of aging and DHSS representatives led senior volunteers from the senior center through the intersection and the surrounding neighborhood to kick off the program and promote its benefits.

The second location, Route 22, was a location that had less in the way of pedestrians and more vehicular conflicts and crashes. The program was structured in the way of a separate Health and Safety Fair, conducted several weeks after the SIT was performed for this location. The event included a presentation of the proposed engineering improvements to the subject intersection, with available engineering staff to discuss and solicit feedback from the senior community who attended the event. Second, several agencies participated, such as motor vehicle, DHSS, highway traffic safety, the county office of aging, AAA and AARP, with health and service information tables and staff to answer questions about services that seniors may need.

The third location was a city environment, Route 71, with a large senior as well as disabled population. The program was conducted similar to Route 22, with a separate fair conducted after the SIT.



The majority of the overall improvements that were recommended in each of the three pilot locations were of an engineering nature. The short-term improvements included the following:

* pavement marking revisions and restriping;

* new and revised signing;

* traffic signal modifications (equipment and timings);

* sidewalk A Microsoft service that was launched in 1997 to provide online arts and entertainment guides on the Web for major cities worldwide. In 1999, Microsoft sold Sidewalk to Ticketmaster, which continued to provide guides, ticketing and other information to the MSN network.  replacement and/or additions including the Americans with Disabilities Act Americans with Disabilities Act, U.S. civil-rights law, enacted 1990, that forbids discrimination of various sorts against persons with physical or mental handicaps. ;

* landscape improvements;

* sight distance clearing (trees and shrubs);

* roadway sweeping;

* lighting;

* bus stop relocation RELOCATION, Scotch law, contracts. To let again to renew a lease, is called a relocation.
     2. When a tenant holds over after the expiration of his lease, with the consent of his landlord, this will amount to a relocation.
; and

* lane use revisions.

These types of improvements were the focus of this pilot program. The improvements that were designated as medium- or long-term (geometric medications, gradeseparation, utility relocation, right of way, or historic conflicts) were moved to the planning area of NJDOT for further study and development. Figure 3 is an example of the recommendation exhibit used at the Health and Safety Fair to discuss proposed improvements and solicit input from the senior population.


Enforcement recommendations included:

* speed enforcement;

* additional enforcement presence;

* aggressive driving enforcement;

* citing jaywalkers;

* overweight Overweight

Refers to an investment position that is larger than the generally accepted benchmark.

For example, if a company normally holds a portfolio whose weighting of cash is 10%, and then increases cash holdings to 15%, the portfolio would have an overweight
 truck enforcement; and

* lower speed limit.


Recommendations related to educating both drivers and pedestrians included the following:

* Develop and hand out brochures relating to relating to relate prepconcernant

relating to relate prepbezüglich +gen, mit Bezug auf +acc 
 pedestrians and use of pedestrian indications at traffic signals; proper bicycling; and aggressive driving.

* Solicit support from the local business community to support pedestrian safety activities.

* Apply for grant from Safe Routes To School and Safe Streets; apply for grants for pedestrian education and additional enforcement details.

* Research and implement strategies from other cities for jaywalking jay·walk  
intr.v. jay·walked, jay·walk·ing, jay·walks
To cross a street illegally or in a reckless manner.

[From jay2, inexperienced person.
 and wrong-way bicycling riding.


As with many new programs, there were several initial key hurdles to overcome with each location.

Route 93

The large Korean-speaking population provided a significant language barrier to communicating with the pilot team. Staff from the NJDOT family provided translation services during all phases of the event. Additionally, staff translated key pedestrian and safety brochures into Korean for use during this program.

Route 22

The senior center was not centrally located widi die subject intersection for this location. This required significant outreach by DHSS and NJDOT to the community to solicit participation in both die SIT and die Healdi and Safety Fair events.

Route 71

There was difficulty in getting a community meeting to introduce this program. This had occurred with another pilot location with the community not wishing to participate in the program. That led to the location being dropped and diis one selected. Persistence (1) In a CRT, the time a phosphor dot remains illuminated after being energized. Long-persistence phosphors reduce flicker, but generate ghost-like images that linger on screen for a fraction of a second.  from NJDOT's Community Outreach Program representatives along widi details on the program finally led to their participation.

Second, several other community rehabilitation rehabilitation: see physical therapy.  projects were underway at diis location. Ensuring that this project coordinated and complemented the other projects required significant evaluation, communication and compromise by all parties.

The overall challenge with the entire program was the lack of dedicated funding to this effort. The initial senior study performed in 2002-2003 was completely funded, but the recommended action to conduct the pilot program had no funding associated with it. Part of the study provided a cost estimate to implement this program. It was estimated that the cost to design and construct a generic intersection in this program was in the range of $148,000 to $450,000.7

Discussions at NJDOT did not provide any relief for the funding challenge, so the short-term engineering improvements were incorporated into existing NJDOT programs such as the intersection improvement program, pedestrian improvement program and safety management system. The county offices of aging provided funding to host the events at the senior centers, providing refreshments re·fresh·ment  
1. The act of refreshing or the state of being refreshed.

2. Something, such as food or drink, that refreshes.

3. refreshments A snack or light meal and drinks.
, with contributions from DHSS. The agencies participating in the Health and Safety Fair donated do·nate  
v. do·nat·ed, do·nat·ing, do·nates
To present as a gift to a fund or cause; contribute.

To make a contribution to a fund or cause.
 the health and safety materials as well as their time.


The recommended improvements for each location have been steadily implemented over the past several years. Some improvements proved easier to accomplish than others, such as pavement markings and signing, while traffic signal modifications, lane use and regulatory issues were more challenging. It is noted that some of the Route 22 location improvements were incorporated into a county project for this location, which is under development and construction.

NJDOT staff overseeing the design and implementation of the improvements ensured that these projects were implemented despite the lack of funding.

Crash evaluation of the locations is still under development, but early indications suggest that the improvements will have made a positive difference in the safety of those locations.


Efforts continue to secure a dedicated funding source in NJDOT's capital program to further this program. Efforts will continue to improve locations for senior travelers through other funding sources. Senior mobility is an emphasis area in New Jersey's Comprehensive Strategic Highway Safety Plan (CSHSP), and the recommended strategies and actions from the plan will help bolster This article is about the pillow called a bolster. For other meanings of the word "bolster", see bolster (disambiguation).

A bolster (etymology: Middle English, derived from Old English, and before that the Germanic word bulgstraz
 the effort and gain attention on senior travel in this state. Discussions are underway to partner with New Jersey's Foundation for Aging to help promote CSHSP's strategies and to assist in finding alternative means to fund senior mobility programs.


This partnership between the engineering and the health services health services Managed care The benefits covered under a health contract  communities provided a unique opportunity to partner with another agency with similar goals in providing safe mobility but very different techniques for accomplishing them. Much was learned by the organizations in how each approaches a particular challenge, that of providing a healthy and safe walking environment for seniors and how signing, signal and marking improvements can make a difference in how and when seniors use that facility.

Providing safety improvements through engineering is but one facet facet /fac·et/ (fas´it) a small plane surface on a hard body, as on a bone.

1. A small smooth area on a bone or other firm structure.

 of achieving a safety goal. Safety engineering professionals should seek new partnerships and relationships at every opportunity to broaden and enhance their perspective; the results may be pleasantly surprising.


The author would like to acknowledge Kathy Diringer, NJDOT, for her leadership in the development of the senior safety program; Stephanie Katz, DHSS, for providing the invaluable partnership from DHSS; Pamela LeBeaux, PB America, for her tireless efforts in developing the pilot locations and program details; and the dedicated staff in NJDOT's Bureau of Safety Programs and Traffic Engineering and Investigations.

© 2008 Institute of Transportation Engineers Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) is an international educational and scientific association of transportation professionals who attempt to meet mobility and safety needs and was founded in 1930. ITE is a standards development organization designated by the U.S.  Provided by ProQuest LLC (Logical Link Control) See "LANs" under data link protocol.

LLC - Logical Link Control
. All Rights Reserved.
Copyright 2008 Institute of Transportation Engineers. ITE Journal
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright (c) Mochila, Inc.

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Author:Patricia A PE Ott
Publication:Institute of Transportation Engineers. ITE Journal
Date:Dec 1, 2008
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