Are pedestrian crossings in the UK fit for purpose? Comparing the current crossing times with the gait-speed of older adults at risk for mobility-related disability

Max Western, Janet Withall, Jolanthe De Koning, Janice L Thompson, Colin Greaves, Jessica Bollen, Sarah Moorlock, Kenneth R Fox, Afroditi Stathi

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

Background
Pedestrian crossings in the UK require pedestrians to walk at least 1.2m/s to get across before the lights change. Forty-two % of adults ≥ 65 years have a degree of mobility impairment and for them, this assumption might be inappropriate. This study examined the average walking speed of a cohort of older adults at risk for mobility-related disability and identified the proportion who could walk at 1.2m/s.

Methods
Adults aged ≥65 years at risk for mobility-related disability (defined as scoring between 4 and 9 out of 12 on the Short Physical Performance Battery (SPPB)) participating in a multi-site, RCT, completed two, four-meter walks as part of their baseline assessment. The average walking speed for various sub-groups (defined by gender, age, SPPB score) were calculated and compared using ANOVA.

Results
A total of 768 participants [66% female; mean (SD) age=77.6(6.9)] walked at an average(95% confidence intervals) speed of 0.76m/s. Females were slower (0.75 (0.73-0.76) m/s) than males (0.78 (0.76-0.80) m/s) p=0.016. The average walking speed for both males and females decreased with age: 0.80 (0.78-0.82) m/s for 65-74 year olds (n=281); 0.75 (0.73-0.77) m/s for 75-84 year olds (n=346); and 0.71 (0.68-0.74) m/s for those 85+ years (n=141) (p=0.036). Frailty status was associated with walking speed, whereby those with an SPPB score of 4-7 (n=340) walked at 0.64 (0.63-0.66) m/s as compared to those with SPPB score of 8-9 (n=428) who walked at 0.85 (0.84-0.87) m/s (p=0.000). Only 11 (1.4%) of all participants would be able to cross at 1.2m/s.

Conclusions and Implications
The expected walking speed of 1.2m/s at pedestrian crossings is unfeasible for a cohort of older adults at risk of mobility-related disability. An upstream, national policy of increasing crossing times could contribute to more age- and mobility-friendly walking environments.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2018
EventUKSBM 14th Annual Scientific Meeting - Birmingham 2018 -
Duration: 12 Dec 201813 Dec 2018

Conference

ConferenceUKSBM 14th Annual Scientific Meeting - Birmingham 2018
Period12/12/1813/12/18

Cite this

Western, M., Withall, J., De Koning, J., Thompson, J. L., Greaves, C., Bollen, J., Moorlock, S., Fox, K. R., & Stathi, A. (2018). Are pedestrian crossings in the UK fit for purpose? Comparing the current crossing times with the gait-speed of older adults at risk for mobility-related disability. Abstract from UKSBM 14th Annual Scientific Meeting - Birmingham 2018, .