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Am J Public Health. 1997 Mar;87(3):393-7.

Characteristics of older pedestrians who have difficulty crossing the street.

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  • 1Epidemiology, Demography, and Biometry Program, National Institute on Aging, Bethesda, Md 20892-9205, USA.



This study examined the sociodemographic and health characteristics and problems of older pedestrians.


Interviews and assessments were conducted with 1249 enrollees aged 72 or older from the New Haven, Conn, community of the Established Populations for Epidemiologic Studies of the Elderly who agreed to participate in a seventh follow-up.


Approximately 11% of the New Haven residents reported difficulty crossing the street. Older pedestrians needing help in one or more activities of daily living were more than 10 times as likely as others, and those with the slowest walking speeds were nearly 3 times as likely as others, to report difficulty crossing the street. Fewer than 1% of these pedestrians aged 72 or older had a normal walking speed sufficient to cross the street in the time typically allotted at signalized intersections (1.22 m/sec).


Crossing times at signalized intersectíons in areas with large populations of elders should be extended, and the recommended walking speed for timing signalized crossings should be modified to reflect the range of abilities among older pedestrians.

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