Senior mobility, safety and transportation professionals from three countries and 26 states will gather in downtown Detroit this month for the North American Conference on Elderly Mobility.

The conference is focused on preserving mobility options for an aging population and is intended for automotive designers, driver licensing professionals, educators, engineers, traffic safety professionals, government officials, health care providers, law enforcement professionals, older adult advocates, planners, policy advisors, researchers, and transit providers. It will feature best practices involving alternative transportation, mobility management and coordination, infrastructure and vehicles, driver education and training, driver screening and assessment, and housing and land use.

Great Lakes Great Years, Safety from Shore to Shore, Michigan’s Guide for Aging Drivers and Their Families, a new handbook compiled by a coalition of safety professionals from the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Michigan Department of State (MDOS), the Office of Highway Safety Planning, and AAA Michigan will make its debut at the conference. The handbook covers a wide range of topics, including:

    • Keeping safe while driving
    • Impacts of aging on driving
    • Self-assessment for evaluating if you are safe to drive
    • Safety tips for all road users.

The handbook will be available through the Michigan Secretary of State branch offices, AAA Michigan, and the Michigan Office of Services to the Aging. A PDF of the book can be selected from the “Driver Info” drop-down menu on the Roads and Travel section of the MDOT website at

The conference was last held in Detroit in 2004, when it featured a demonstration “Senior Driver Showcase Roadway,” a 7.3-mile-long loop that MDOT modified with Clearview font signs, modified traffic signals, 6-inch pavement markings, pedestrian countdown signals, and other improvements to increase visibility, readability and safety. Many of the innovations presented in 2004 have since become part of MDOT’s replacement process on state roadways. The demonstration roadway also will be part of this year’s conference. A showcase map appears on the “Senior Mobility” page of the MDOT website.

“As the population ages, it is important to find solutions to their transportation and mobility challenges,” said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. “While we are committed to keeping seniors safe and mobile, many of the best practices that will be shared at this conference can benefit all road users. We’re working to arrive at design standards that will create a safer transportation system for everyone.”

The North American Conference on Elderly Mobility is scheduled for May 11-14 at the Marriott Hotel (Renaissance Center) in Detroit. Conference partners include: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety; AAA Michigan; AARP; the U.S. Department of Transportation; MDOT; MDOS; Michigan State Police; the Office of Highway Safety Planning; the Office of Services to the Aging; Central Michigan University – Center for Driving Evaluation, Education and Research; the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments (SEMCOG); the Traffic Improvement Association of Michigan; the American Traffic Safety Services Association; the Michigan Public Transit Association; the Transportation Research Board; the Area Agency on Aging 1-B; PK Contracting; Ford Motor Co., and General Motors Corp.

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