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Older People too Slow for Timed Traffic Crosswalk


Older People too Slow for Timed Traffic Crosswalk

(epharmanews)- A new study published in the journal Age and Ageing has compared the walking speed of the older population in the UK (aged 65 and over) with the speed required to use a pedestrian crossing.

The research, led by Dr. Laura Asher of the Department of Epidemiology & Public Health at UCL (University College London), found that the mean walking speed of participants in the Health Survey for England was 0.9 meters per second for older men and 0.8 meters per second for older women. That is much below the speed required to use a pedestrian crossing in the UK and many other parts of the world.  As age increased in the participants, the speed at which they could walk also decreased.  Overall, 76% of men and 85% of women had a walking speed that was below the required speed of 1.2 meters per second.  The research also found that 93% of women and 84% of men had walking impairment.

Laura Asher comments that, “being able to cross the road is extremely important for local residents. It affects older adults’ health, as they are more likely to avoid crossing a busy road.  Walking is an important activity for older people as it provides regular exercise and direct health benefits.  Being unable to cross a road may deter them from walking, reducing their access to social contacts and interaction, local health services and shops, that are all important in day to day life.”  

She added: “Older pedestrians are more likely to be involved in a road traffic collision than younger people due to slower walking speed, slower decision making and perceptual difficulties.  Older people who are hit are also more likely to die from their injuries than younger people. Having insufficient time at a road crossing may not increase the risk of pedestrian fatalities but it will certainly deter this group from even trying to cross the road.

“For older people, the ability to venture outside of the home is not only important for health benefits but is also important to maintain relationships, social networks and independence.  Physical activity in older residents is dependent on their ability to negotiate their local environment, including crossing a road safely.  The groups of people identified in this study as the most vulnerable and as having a walking impairment are also the least likely to have access to other, more expensive, forms of transport.”

“Further consideration needs to be taken on the time allowed at pedestrian crossings. Pedestrian crossing times are currently being decreased in London as part of the Smoothing Traffic Flow Strategy, which is one component of the 2010 Mayor’s Transport Strategy. Although there has been no alteration in the minimum assumed walking speed of pedestrians, there is a reduced ‘invitation to cross’ (green man) time.” Asher concluded.


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Prepared by: Basel AlJunaidy


Source :

ePharmaNews






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