Walking Speed of Older Pedestrians Who Use Canes or Walkers for Mobility

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

operations - traffic, ridership - old people, mode - pedestrian, mode - pedestrian


Winnipeg (Canada), Walking speed, Walking, Walkers, Signalized intersections, Signalised intersections, Senior citizens, Pedestrians, Pedestrian movement, Older people, Old people, Mobility, Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, Gender, Elderly persons, Crossing The Road, Canes, Aged


Findings are presented of a follow-up study conducted in Winnipeg, Canada, to investigate the walking speed of older pedestrians who use walkers or canes for mobility. The results are from research conducted to understand the differences between the normal and the crossing walking speeds of older pedestrians who use walkers or canes for mobility at signalized intersections. This walking speed is also compared with that of older pedestrians who ambulate without assistive devices. For the purposes of this research, normal walking speed is the speed at which pedestrians walk without needing to cross any intersection, and crossing walking speed is that at which pedestrians walk when crossing a signalized intersection. The research found that in all cases the normal speed is lower than the crossing walking speed for older pedestrians with or without assistive devices. There are no seasonal differences in the normal walking speed of older pedestrians with walkers or canes. However, the crossing walking speed is higher in winter than in summer. Regarding gender issues, older men walk faster than older women when assistive devices are not used. However, there are no gender differences in walking speed when pedestrians use walkers or canes for mobility. Although this research shows that using the current walking-speed assumption of 1.2 m/s (4.0 ft/s), as recommended in the U.S. "Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices," almost all older pedestrians needing walkers or canes for mobility would be excluded in the design process, it also shows other information that would be valuable for improved urban planning, transit operations, and other transportation engineering applications.