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Age Ageing. 2010 Jan;39(1):80-6. doi: 10.1093/ageing/afp206. Epub 2009 Nov 18.

Do older pedestrians have enough time to cross roads in Dublin? A critique of the Traffic Management Guidelines based on clinical research findings.

Author information

1
TRIL Clinic, St James's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. rortuno@stjames.ie

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

the safety of older pedestrians at urban intersections is a matter of gerontological concern. Many older pedestrians report inability to complete crossings in the time given by pedestrian lights. Standard times for pedestrian lights in Dublin pelican crossings are specified in the Traffic Management Guidelines (TMG). The Technology Research for Independent Living Centre is building a database of gait assessments of Irish community-dwelling older people using GAITRite.

OBJECTIVE:

to compare the usual walking speed of our participants against that required by the TMG.

DESIGN:

cross-sectional observational study.

SETTING:

comprehensive geriatric assessment outpatient clinic.

SUBJECTS:

355 community-dwelling older subjects aged > or =60 assessed between August 2007 and September 2008 (mean age 72.7, SD 7.2).

METHODS:

linear regression analysis between age and observed walking speed, followed by comparison of predicted walking speeds at four different ages (i.e. 60, 70, 80 and 89) against minimum walking speeds required to cross standard Irish roads when regulated by the pelican system.

RESULTS:

age and walking speed had a strong inverse correlation F (1, 353) = 108.48, P < 0.001, R(2) = 0.235. The regression predicted a walking speed of 1.30 m/s (95% confidence interval 1.24-1.35) at the age of 60, 1.10 (1.07-1.13) at 70, 0.91 (0.87-0.94) at 80 and 0.73 (0.66-0.80) at 89. Against these predicted walking speeds, standard crossing times appeared insufficient for very old people.

CONCLUSIONS:

as currently defined in the TMG, maximum pedestrian crossing times at pelican crossings may represent a hazard for very old people. This should be addressed within the Irish authorities' plan to improve safety and equality for older people.

PMID:
19923163
DOI:
10.1093/ageing/afp206
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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