Conference Proceeding

A Preliminary Examination of Age-Related Differences in Perceived Complexity at Fatal-Crash Intersections

  • Timothy J Wright (Dunlap and Associates, Inc. Stamford, CT)
  • Olivio J Horrey (Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, Hopkinton, MA)
  • David A Lombardi (Liberty Mutual Research Institute for Safety, Hopkinton, MA)


Younger and older drivers are both overrepresented in fatal crashes that occur at intersections, however, after adjusting for other significant factors (i.e., being at fault type of road, weather, lighting) the increased risk cannot be fully accounted for older drivers, nor does frailty. Thus, increased risk for older drivers could be due to their agerelated cognitive declines and possible differences in perceptions of intersections. The current study examines whether older drivers’ perceived complexity of intersections differed quantitatively and qualitatively from younger drivers’ perceived complexity of the same intersections. Coordinates of a random sample of intersections where at least one fatality occurred over a three-year period from the US Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) were identified and Google Earth was used to extract still images of each intersection. The complexity of these intersection images were rated by a sample (N =38) of younger (age 18-35) and older drivers (age 65+). Inter-rater reliability for each group was calculated. In addition, individual intersection images with the largest and smallest age differences were qualitatively examined. Results suggest that older drivers view the complexity of intersections differently than younger drivers. Overall, older drivers were less reliable and scored nominally higher on average in their complexity ratings than younger drivers. Moreover, older drivers tended to rate rural or residential intersections as being more complex than younger drivers; whereas younger drivers tended to rate urban intersections as being more complex. Future work should account for these age differences in perceived intersection complexity.

How to Cite:

Wright, T. & Horrey, O. & Lombardi, D., (2017) “A Preliminary Examination of Age-Related Differences in Perceived Complexity at Fatal-Crash Intersections”, Driving Assessment Conference 9(2017), 51-57. doi:

Rights: Copyright © 2017 the author(s)

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Published on
27 Jun 2017
Peer Reviewed