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Friday, 15 June 2012

Most older pedestrians are unable to cross the road in time

 The ability to cross a road in time is one that most of us take for granted.

Following research led by Dr Laura Asher of the Department of Epidemiology & Public Health at UCL (University College London), the results of the study have been published in the journal Age and Ageing, under the title 'Most Older Pedestrians are unable to cross the road in time'. the cross-sectional study 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.

Currently, to use a pedestrian crossing a person must cross at a speed above 1.2 meters per second.

The research 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. This is much below the speed required to use a pedestrian crossing in the UK and many other parts of the world.

Dr Asher says: "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. She further commented that "the strength of this study is that it provides an accurate picture of the proportion of people aged 65 and over in the general population who are likely to be unable to use pedestrian crossings safely" and went on to say "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." adding "Our study has shown that even before these changes, the vast majority of people over 65 years old in England are unable to walk fast enough to use a pedestrian crossing."

Read more about the study in ScienceDailly: Most older pedestrians are unable to cross the road in time

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