Traffic lights for the obese and elderly are a new invention in the UK

The United Kingdom is another country among the many whose citizens suffer over time from the increase in obesity and the elderly. And while it may sound like a joke, many of them find zebra crossings increasingly difficult.

The UK Department of Traffic found that elderly and obese people, on average, take 1.2 seconds longer than people who are younger and without mobility issues when crossing a zebra crossing with the small number in green.

According to ATE (Active Travel England), a British government agency responsible for improving urban mobility, the average duration of a green dummy at pedestrian traffic lights in British cities is 6.1 seconds, which requires walking at an average speed of 1.2 m/s.

For this reason, the proposal from the United Kingdom is to increase that time by more than a second, up to 7.3, so that the necessary speed is somewhat lower than the current speed and remains at m/s.

“If we don’t give people enough time to cross the street, they’ll feel like they can’t leave their homes without a car,” said Brian Deegan, ATE’s director of inspections. All this responds to a measure intended to include and promote healthy habits, but there is also talk of a security measure, since more and more people who cannot cross the street at the time indicated by a traffic light pose a greater risk of serious accidents on the corners of the city.

This measure is in line with a 2012 University College London study, which found that 76% of men and 85% of women over the age of 65 did not cross the road before the green light had gone out. The participants’ average speed was 0.9 meters per second for the older men and 0.8 meters per second for the older women, both less than the 1.2 meters per second required today to cross a street at a traffic light.

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Sacha Woodward

"Wannabe writer. Lifelong problem solver. Gamer. Incurable web guru. Professional music lover."

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