Walking Speed of Older People and Pedestrian Crossing Time

Traffic lights that regulate the pedestrian crossings in Sao Paulo, Brazil are programmed to consider a standard walking speed of 1.2 m/s (m/s). However, the frequently slower walking speed of the elderly may make it difficult for them to cross the streets safely and contribute to their social seclusion. To assess the walking speed of older people living in the community and to compare the results with the international standards for pedestrian crossing. This cross-sectional, population-based study used a probabilistic sample of 1191 individuals aged 60 years or more, living in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, in 2010. Walking speed was directly measured using a physical test, and was dichotomously classified using two cut-off points: 1.1 and 0.9 m/s. Interviews informed covariates on socio-demographic characteristics and health status. Vast majority (97.8%) of older adults in Sao Paulo walks at a slower pace than is currently demanded by the lights at the pedestrian crossings (1.2 m/s). This proportion remained practically unchanged (95.7%) when a standard pedestrian walking speed of 1.1 m/s is considered. Reducing the reference speed to 0.9 m/s would narrowed this proportion to 69.7%. Women, light-skinned blacks, poorly educated individuals and those with poorer health were more likely to walk at a slower pace than is required by traffic lights at the pedestrian crossings in the city. Overwhelming majority of older adults living in Sao Paulo cannot cross streets at their own walking speed. Therefore, there is an urgent need for modifying the traffic environment to prevent accidents involving vulnerable pedestrians and promote urban mobility.


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  • Accession Number: 01641283
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 19 2017 3:43PM