Pedestrians fast and slow

people stand on the footpath waiting to cross on the pedestrian crossing. The street is in JapanOlder people who walk slowly or unsteadily can find themselves bumped by faster walkers as they try to weave around them. This can be stressful for older people, particularly in crowded streets. A Japanese group think that a smartphone device could help this situation and their work is outlined in a conference paper.

Regardless of whether a smartphone app would be of use, it is clear this is an issue in large cities. If older people find it stressful it could restrict them from visiting city centres. Perhaps the answer is wider footpaths and narrower vehicle road space.

The language used has not translated well, such as “wobbling elderly people”. However, this is a new take on the issue of being able to get out and about. Here are a few points from the paper about older pedestrians:

    • difficulty discerning the movement of pedestrians or bicycles coming from the opposite direction.
    • they don’t realise they might pose a danger to others if their movement is unpredictable
    • being unable to walk in a predictable line and going left or right causes bumping by other pedestrians 

Shows older Japanese people with wheelie walkers on the streetThe full title of the paper is, An information presentation system for wobbling elderly people and those around them in walking spaces. It is by Koshi Ogawa, Takashi Sakamoto, and Toshikazu Kato.