Crossing a Two-Way Street: Comparison of Young and Old Pedestrians

Choosing a safe gap in which to cross a two-way street is a complex task and only few experiments have investigated age-specific difficulties. A total of 18 young (age 19–35), 28 younger-old (age 62–71) and 38 older-old (age 72–85 years) adults participated in a simulated street-crossing experiment in which vehicle approach speed and available time gaps were varied. The safe and controlled simulated environment allowed participants to perform a real walk across an experimental two-way street. The differences between the results for the two lanes are of particular interest to the study of visual exploration and crossing behaviors. The results showed that old participants crossed more slowly, adopted smaller safety margins, and made more decisions that led to collisions than did young participants. These difficulties were found particularly when vehicles approached in the far lane, or rapidly. Whereas young participants considered the time gaps available in both lanes to decide whether to cross the street, old participants made their decisions mainly on the basis of the gap available in the near lane while neglecting the far lane. The present results point to attentional deficits as well as physical limitations in older pedestrians. Several practical and have implications in terms of road design and pedestrian training are proposed.


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  • Accession Number: 01539350
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 26 2014 2:43PM