Introduction: In Spain, citizen complaints continue to be filed about pedestrian traffic lights in urban areas not providing enough time to cross roads safely, especially by the elderly and people with disabilities. This is despite the existence of accessibility laws in Spanish regions, the most favorable being to establish that pedestrian traffic lights should be regulated according to a pedestrian crossing speed of 0.7 meters per second (m/s). The Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE, http://www.share-project.org) measured the normal walking speed of a nationally representative sample of Spanish people of 75 or more years of age. Our study compared the median walking speed of this sample against the reference speed of 0.7 m/s.
Material and methods: Spanish sample of the second wave of SHARE (version 2.2.0), including 244 subjects of 75 or more years of age of which 121 were women and 123 men.
Results: The median walking speed in women was 0.40 m/s, and in men it was 0.60 m/s. The analysis of frequencies showed that 75.2% (N=91) of women and 66.7% (N=82) of men had individual walking speeds of less than 0.7 m/s. The reference speed that would include the 80% of women and men in the sample would be 0.25 and 0.31 m/s, respectively.
Conclusion: The reference walking speed of 0.7 m/s excludes a great proportion of older people. Urgent corrective measures are needed to avoid discrimination and protect the safety of this growing sector of the population.
Copyright © 2009 SEGG. Published by Elsevier Espana. All rights reserved.