Green man ‘too fast for elderly’

12.00 | 14 June 2012 | | 3 comments

Pedestrian crossings do not allow older people enough time to cross the road, a new report warns (BBC News).

The study found that for those over the age of 65 years, 76% of men and 85% of women have a walking speed slower than that needed to use a pedestrian crossing.

This speed is set by the DfT at 1.2 metres (4ft) per second – an international standard.

The work, published in the journal Age and Ageing, calls for current pedestrian times to be reviewed.

Norman Baker, local transport minister, said: “In my experience, the vast majority of people, young or old, get across the road as quickly as they can.

“The department recommends that where a crossing may be used by a large number of older people or those with mobility issues, for example outside residential care homes, this should be taken into account in the timings set by local authorities.”

Dr Laura Asher, report leader and public health expert at University College London, said: “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.

“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.

“The groups of people identified in this study as the most vulnerable were those living in deprived areas – those least likely to have access to other, more expensive, forms of transport.”

To help pedestrians cross the road, Transport for London had been introducing ‘pedestrian countdown’ technology to the capital.

This aims to help those crossing the road to be able to better judge whether they have enough time to do so safety – a digital display counts down between the end of the green man signal and the red man appearing, rather than just a flashing green man or blackout period.

Click here to read the full BBC News report.


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    It’s not just the elderly. It’s also people with disabilities, or even with injuries that make walking harder. For example, I have tendonitis at the moment. I expect it to clear up within a couple of weeks, but I’ve learned what it’s like to have a disability, and crossing roads has been my biggest problem!

    Ian Eiloart, Lewes, East Sussex
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    Tony – you are one step ahead of us! We are currently in the process of tracking down the report and (assuming it is suitable) will be putting it forward for inclusion in the Road Safety Knowledge Centre. Items have to be approved by the Knowledge Centre Scrutiny Panel, and assuming they are content it will be uploaded w/comm 2/6/12.

    Nick Rawlings, editor, Road Safety GB newsfeed
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    It would be very “helpful” if RSGB could obtain a copy of the report from the authors and make available to road safety professionals (The current on line issue of “age and ageing” is May).

    As regards the report, all the issues raised seem to more than adequately be addressed by the use of PUFFIN technology.

    Tony, Bristol
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