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The benefits of putting a pedestrian lane for fast walkers

Brown and Maureen C. But walking can also contribute to psychosocial wellbeing through social interaction and community engagement2. These factors are especially important for older adults.

Yet there may be some hidden challenges to walking within a community such as crossing the street. In our study, we first assessed older adults who have few challenges with outdoor walking. We did this in a lab setting.

We asked a group of community-dwelling older adults to participate in lab-based walking trials. Participants walk at their usual, slow, and fast paces, and we used GAITrite to gather baseline information. Lab-based Study In our recently published paper5we invited 22 community dwelling older men and women to take part in a lab-based study.

The study included four trial conditions: Our sample of older adults had a usual walking pace of 1.

Treatment: Curb Extensions

However, in the crosswalk condition, participants walked faster at 1. We call this "gait variability. Even in this lab-based crosswalk simulation, where timing demands and distractions were absent, we noted a change in walking speed and variability.

This is notable because there is a connection between gait variability and an increased risk of falls7.

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Falls are a serious concern for all, but especially for older adults. Beyond the Lab We also wanted to gather information about our participants' perceptions about their own neighbourhoods. The majority of participants reported leaving their home on a daily basis. Many reported that they had destinations within walkable distance of their homes, such as stores or public transit. Another factor identified as an enabler of community mobility was good infrastructure.

Although the majority of participants agreed that sidewalks and crosswalks were present in their neighbourhoods, 6 of our 22 participants reported feeling unconfident about their safety when crossing the road.

Tools to Reduce Crossing Distances for Pedestrians

Our thanks to the study participants who provided the opportunity for us to explore these important issues related to community mobility. The effects of resistance training and walking on functional fitness in advanced old age. Journal of Aging and Health. Relationships between the perceived neighbourhood social environment and walking for transportation among older adults. Are older pedestrians allowed enough time to cross intersections safely?

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

  1. Pedestrian lanes are a interim facility, and a full sidewalk construction should be planned for future implementation. Many reported that they had destinations within walkable distance of their homes, such as stores or public transit.
  2. Intersections Configure pedestrian lanes with treatments to provide for a safe, clear, and accessible passage at street crossings. Gait variability and fall risk in community-living older adults.
  3. Putting It Into Practice. Pedestrian Lane Benefits Provides a stable surface off of the roadway for pedestrians to use when sidewalks or sidepaths are deemed impractical or otherwise not desired.
  4. Road Diets In this image, the pedestrians have crossed over the first of two lanes. This example illustrates that you do not have to spend a lot of money to obtain a big safety dividend.

Gait speed and variability for usual pace and pedestrian crossing conditions in older adults using the GAITRite walkway. Transportation Association of Canada. Manual of uniform traffic control devices for Canada, 4th ed. Gait variability and fall risk in community-living older adults: A 1-year prospective study. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.