Time and space for the 'silver driver'

In 2040, 40% of the Dutch population will be 65 years and above. In the Netherlands, this change in demography is often referred to as “the silver society”. Many of these older citizens will be active for longer than before, and this includes participation in the traffic system, hence the term “silver driver”. A silver driver has different needs that the average driver, in terms of road and traffic management facilities. For this reason, Rijkswaterstaat, the Dutch National Road Authority, has set up an innovation programme to make it easier for silver drivers to keep driving safely and efficiently. 

TTrafficQuest contributed to one of the studies that was part of this innovation programme. Based on desk research and microscopic traffic simulation, the effect of having a growing number of silver drivers on the road on traffic efficiency and safety were investigated. The characteristics of silver drivers’ driving behavior were translated into parameters for the microscopic simulation study of a stretch of motorway, carried out with the Aimsun model. In the simulations, the “silver” situation was compared to a reference situation, varying the number of lanes, the traffic volumes and the share of heavy goods vehicles. The results of the study give indications as to which elements of the motorway network and which traffic situations are “silverproof” and which need further research. The simulation study outcomes support the hypothesis that creating extra time and space for silver drivers will have a positive effect on both throughput and safety of the traffic system. A paper has been written about the results and has been presented at the Colloquium Vervoersplanologisch Speurwerk (“Colloquium Transport Planning Research”) that took place on November 21 & 22, 2013 in Rotterdam.

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