New research from University College London (UCL) has found that traffic lights do not provide adequate time for elderly people to cross the road, which could be jeopardizing the safety of millions of senior citizens.
People over the age of 65 walk much slower than the estimated time of 1.2 metres per second and traffic lights are not programmed to cater to slower walking speeds.
Living Streets is now appealing to the Government to increase the "green man" time at pedestrian crossings by three seconds so that the elderly do not panic. With the present timing, the elderly will be stuck in the middle of the road when the lights turn.
"People tell us they feel harassed by traffic revving their engines because the green man has started flashing and many avoid going out because they don't feel they can cross the road safely," said Tony Armstrong, Living Streets Chief Executive.
"Three seconds isn't a long time, but for an older person it can make the difference between feeling confident they can comfortably access their local shops and services, and feeling vulnerable and afraid to cross the road, which in turn often leads to isolation. Sadly this is a prime example of the shocking lack of focus given to walking by the Department for Transport."
"Feeling that you cannot negotiate the outside world causes psychological distress. It also deters people from even going out, feeling they are unable to cross roads safely.We need better quality public spaces that enable everyone to live well and comfortably."