Lights on pedestrian crossings could stay green for longer, giving people more time to cross the road. Transport officials are reviewing guidance for councils, which would increase the length of time people have at a crossing.
The change is being considered by Active Travel England, an executive agency of the Department for Transport. It would give pedestrians around seven seconds, rather than six, to cross the typical road, to the benefit of older people and people with disabilities.
A spokesperson for ATE, said: “We want to enable millions more people to travel by walking, wheeling and cycling for short trips. A big part of that is being able to make sure crossing times are inclusive so that they give enough time for everyone to cross the road.
“Crossing times can be a challenge, particularly for elderly and disabled people, and a bad experience is enough to put someone off doing it.”
According to research conducted by the University College of London in 2012, 76% of men and 85% of women had a walking speed lower than the current 1.2 metres per second standard crossing times.
The revised standard recommendation to councils of the average walking speed used for crossing times would be one metre per second.
Stephen Edwards, chief executive of Living Streets, a charity that promotes everyday walking, welcomed the proposal, saying that it acknowledges walking speeds in the UK’s ageing population: “Millions of older people, disabled people and families with children struggle to cross the road in the time given.
“If people don’t feel safe crossing the street, they simply won’t make the journey or will make it in a less sustainable and less healthy way,” he added.