Getting the Timing Right
Friday, 10 August 2012
SINGAPORE - It takes about 2.16 seconds for the elderly to take the first step onto the road if they have a shopping cart and 2.1 seconds if they are pushing a stroller. This is compared with their normal speed of about 1.81 seconds.
This is according to preliminary findings from a study led by Assistant Professor Kong Pui Wah from the National Institute of Education (NIE), which aims to provide more ideas on the Land Transport Authority's (LTA) Green Man Plus Scheme.
The scheme allows elderly or disabled pedestrians three to 12 seconds of extra crossing time, depending on factors such as the average walking speed of the elderly, how wide the road is and how heavy the traffic is.
While she felt LTA's Green Man Plus Scheme is "an excellent idea", Asst Prof Kong felt the findings from her study could potentially allow the scheme to "adjust accordingly" to suit individual needs if each elderly has a card that carries their individual gait information.
This could also apply for other groups in need, such as people with disabilities, added the researcher.
On average, LTA's Green Man Plus Scheme currently provides an additional crossing time of five seconds.
According to the NIE study, which was awarded a S$10,000 grant by the Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Welfare Foundation, preliminary analysis of the data supports researchers' hypothesis that the elderly were slower in their response to initiate walking and they also walked slower.
The motivation for the study came from Asst Prof Kong's personal experience and everyday observation on the roads.
"I myself struggle sometimes to clear the road within the green man time, especially when pushing a stroller, and I always wonder how the elderly can make it," said Asst Prof Kong.
Thus far, the researchers have completed their study of 50 subjects, about half of whom are above the age of 60.
All data collection, according to Asst Prof Kong, should be completed by October this year, and primary analysis of the data conducted by January.
Source: Channel NewsAsia, mediacorp