Timed Traffic Crosswalks Too Fast for Many Elderly: Study


A new British study published June 14 in the journal Age and Ageing found that the time given by automated crosswalks is often insufficient to allow older adults to cross the street safely. In the UK the average speed needed to cross a street in the time allotted by the cross walk is about 4 feet per second. When researches studied people 65 and older who took part in the Health Survey for England, they found that older men had an average walking speed of about 3 feet per second, while older women only covered 2.5 feet per second.

Of the study participants, 76 percent of older men and 85 percent of older women had a walking speed slower than the speed alloted by automated crosswalks. The researchers also found that 84 percent of older men and 93 percent of older women had a walking impairment. Older adults are more likely to me involved in traffic collisions due to their slower walking speed and slower reaction time.

Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.