The effectiveness of interventions geared to helping municipal and provincial governments improve road safety for cyclists and pedestrians – particularly seniors – is the focus of new research to be led by former CHEPA director Michel Grignon, funded by a one-year $40,000 MIRA/Labarge Centre for Mobility in Aging (LCMA) Catalyst Grant.
Walking is both an important source of physical activity and a primary mode of transportation for many seniors, who are also the main victims of collisions involving pedestrians. Better access to safer streets and sojourning improves mobility, social life and interactions, which leads to a healthier lifestyle, autonomy, social capital, and a better quality of life.
Other CHEPA members involved in the research as co-investigators are Emmanuel Guindon and Jean-Éric Tarride. Additional co-investigators are Niko Yiannakoulias, Faculty of Science (Geography), Tara Marshall, Faculty of Social Sciences (Health, Aging & Society; Social psychology) and Mohamed Hussein, Faculty of Engineering(Civil Engineering).
The researchers will use data from police and hospital emergency departments to assess the impact that road safety measures such as narrowing traffic lanes to accommodate bicycle lanes and banning right-hand turns on red lights have on the number of collisions involving pedestrians or cyclists.
Information from the research will be shared with the City of Hamilton, the Hamilton Council on Aging, Cycle Hamilton and other stakeholders to help inform policies that will affect road safety for pedestrians and cyclists. The researchers hope that by designing and applying a rigorous empirical approach to measuring the effectiveness of road safety initiatives, they will help governments design safer urban environments, enabling the elderly to remain active and mobile in the city.