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Green man overlooks elderly

16th September 2014

There have been calls for the “green man” light at pedestrian crossings to stay on for longer in order to give elderly pedestrians more time to cross the road. National pedestrian charity Living Streets has found that a significant number of elderly pedestrians feel hurried or harassed when crossing the road, suggesting that the time in which the “green man” stays illuminated should be reconsidered.

It may come as no surprise that users of stair lifts in the home and other such aids take longer to cross the road than other more mobile pedestrians. With this in mind, research was undertaken to highlight how these crossings no longer represent the needs of the British ageing population.

“Too fast for many older people”

A Living Streets spokesperson has said of the findings in this article, “the Department for Transport’s current assumed walking speed of 1.2 metres/second is too fast for many older people to manage, not to mention small children, parents with buggies or people with sight or mobility problems.”

As the official “assumed walking speed”, which is used to set the crossing times of such crossings across the UK, has not changed since the 1950s, many are questioning its relevance in today’s society. Britain is facing an ageing population, where the majority of pedestrians may not be able to walk at such a pace. The report from the Transport Research Laboratory also found that many elderly and mobility-restricted pedestrians feel pressured in crossing the road as a result of their slightly slower speed.

Living Streets’ Director of Policy and Communications Phillipa Hunt, went on to say that just three extra seconds in this crossing time could easily make an older person feel more confident in walking out of their front door. Whilst walk in showers and baths can make home living comfortable, safe and secure, no matter their mobility, it is also important that people feel confident in staying safe outside the home too.

Image Credit: Nana B Agyei (

This content was written by Emily Bray. Please feel free to visit my Google + profile to read more stories.

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.