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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-05-100
Date: July 2006

Lesson 8: Pedestrian Characteristics

Picture shows two adults with six children crossing the street in a wide crosswalk. An adult crossing guard is assisting the group by holding a stop sign to stop traffic.


Lesson Outline

  • Pedestrian age groups.
  • Pedestrians with special needs.
  • Walking speeds.
  • Spatial needs.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) design issues.

Pedestrian Age Groups

  • Infants and toddlers (ages 0 to 4).
  • Young children (ages 5 to 12).
  • Preteens (ages 13 to 14).
  • High school aged (ages 15 to 18).
  • Adults (ages 19 to 40).
  • Middle–aged adults (ages 41 to 65).
  • Senior adults (age 65+).

Infants and Toddlers

  • Just learning to walk.
  • Developing peripheral vision and depth perception.
  • Acting impulsively and unpredictably.
Picture shows a two toddlers holding hands while walking on a sidewalk.
Source: PBIC, www.pedbikeimages.org

Young Children

  • Are impulsive and unpredictable.
  • Have limited peripheral vision.
  • Lack experience/training.
  • Are short and hard for drivers to see.
  • Are susceptible to darting or dashing into intersections.
Picture shows a young girl running with a lunchbox and books in her hands.
Source: PBIC, www.pedbikeimages.org

Preteens

  • Lack experience.
  • Walk and bicycle more.
  • Ride more frequently under risky conditions.
  • Get involved in more intersection dash collisions.
  • Have a sense of invulnerability.
Picture shows a group of eight children crossing a street.
Source: PBIC, www.pedbikeimages.org

High School Aged

  • Are very active.
  • Feel invincible.
  • Are capable of traveling at higher speeds.
  • Attempt to use bicycles, skates, etc., based on practices carried over from youth.
Picture shows two young women of high school age walking along a sidewalk. The young women both have backpacks strapped on their shoulders.
Source: PBIC, www.pedbikeimages.org

Adults

  • Are active and fully aware of the traffic environment.
  • Comprise only 1–4 percent of bicycling population in most communities.
  • Tend to be very vocal and interested in improving conditions.
  • Are interested in serving as instructors or task force leaders.
The picture shows an adult man and woman walking along a sidewalk.
Source: PBIC, www.pedbikeimages.org

Middle–Aged Adults

  • Are still active.
  • May experience a slowing of reflexes, range of motion, and observational skills.
The picture shows a busy street crossing with numerous adults crossing and walking along a sidewalk.
Source: PBIC, www.pedbikeimages.org

Senior Adults

  • Walk more for exercise/independence.
  • Experience a reduction in vision, agility, balance, speed, concentration, and strength.
  • Have difficulty hearing vehicles approaching from behind.
  • Have reduced abilities under low light/night conditions.
The picture shows an older man and woman pausing while crossing the street, apparently looking towards an approaching vehicle.
Source: PBIC, www.pedbikeimages.org

Pedestrians with Different Needs

  • Children.
  • Seniors.
  • Mobility–impaired.

The first picture in the bottom left shows a man in a wheelchair being assisted by another adult.

The second picture on the right of the slide shows a woman with an arm–braced cane crossing a street with the assistance of another adult.

Source: PBIC, www.pedbikeimages.org

Walking Speeds

Pedestrian TypeMean Walking Speed, ft/s
Average adult4.00
Wheelchair user3.55
Pedestrian with immobilized knee3.50
Older/senior adult2.80
Cane or crutch user2.62
Below–knee amputee2.46
Pedestrian with knee arthritis2.46
Pedestrian with hip arthritis2.24 to 3.66
Pedestrian with walker2.07
Above–knee amputee1.97
4.0 feet per second (ft/s) = 1.2 meters per second (m/s)

Spatial Needs

Illustration shows heights and dimensions of a person in a wheelchair; 43–51" at eye level, 36 in high at rear handles, 30 in at armrest, 48 in from apex of rear wheels to toes of person, 8 in from ground to top of toes, 19 in from seat to ground, 27 in from lap to ground, person on crutches; 36 in wide, and a sight impaired person with cane; 72 in tall, 27 in high at cane grip, and 6 in sweep to right and left beyond the width of the body.

1 inch = 2.54 centimeter  Source: Pedestrian Facilities Guidebook
 
 

Picture shows a curb ramp at which the sidewalk has been widened to provide a landing of sufficient width.

The illustration on the right shows a plan view of two persons in wheelchairs passing, with the a required width of 1.5 meters (60 in).

Source: ADAAG, http://www.access–board.gov/adaag/html/adaag.htm

Accessible Design Issues

  • Sidewalks.
  • Ramps.
  • Street furniture.
  • Pushbuttons.
  • Curb cuts/wheelchair ramps.

Sidewalks

Picture shows a sidewalk in a park environment.

Picture shows a sidewalk between and street and store fronts, and benches, street trees and streetside bollards are also in this sidewalk space.

Source: PBIC, www.pedbikeimages.org

Ramps

The first picture shows a sidewalk going up an incline with railing on both sides of the sidewalk.

The second picture on the top right shows a gentle graded sidewalk next to a set of outdoor steps. The third picture on the bottom right shows a steel bridge with ramps at either end.

Source: PBIC, www.pedbikeimages.org

Street Furniture

The picture on the left shows benches placed at the back of the sidewalk, with nearly all benches being used by people.

The picture on the right shows a boulder–shaped planter box with landscaping growing from the container.

Source: PBIC, www.pedbikeimages.org

Pushbuttons

The picture on the left shows a close–up view of a pushbutton and supplemental plaque that says "PUSH BUTTON FOR CORSSWALK WARNING DEVICE – CROSS WITH CAUTION".

The picture in the middle has an elderly woman standing and pressing a pushbutton.

The picture on the right shows a close–up view of a pushbutton and supplemental plaque that has three panels stacked horizontally. The top one has a box with a person walking, and to the side, the instructions, "START CROSSING. WATCH FOR TURNING CARS" The middle panel of the plaque has a box with a hand in it, the word "FLASHING" over it, and the instructions, "DON’T START. FINISH CROSSING IF STARTED" The bottom panel has a box with a hand in it, the word "STEADY" over it, and the instructions, "PEDESTRIANS SHOULD NOT BE IN CROSSWALK".

Source: PBIC, www.pedbikeimages.org

Curb Cuts/Wheelchair Ramps

This slide shows three pictures to illustrate different types of pedestrian curb ramps.

This slide shows three pictures to illustrate different types of pedestrian curb ramps.


This slide shows three pictures to illustrate different types of pedestrian curb ramps.

Source: PBIC, www.pedbikeimages.org

Curb Ramp Slopes

This illustration shows the recommended layout and dimensions for curb ramps at intersections. The flare to either side of the ramp has a maximum 10% grade, whereas the ramp grade maximum is 8.33%. A level landing is provided on the sidewalk at the top of the curb ramp, having dimensions of 1.5 meters (5 ft) square. A detectable warning is at the base of the ramp abutting the curb line, with dimensions of 1.2 meters (4 ft) wide (same width as curb ramp) by 600 mm (24 in) deep.


Slope and Counter Slope

This illustration shows the recommended layout and dimensions when the sidewalk is separated from the curb by a buffer area. The flare to either side of the ramp has a maximum 10% grade, whereas the ramp grade maximum is 8.33%. A level landing is provided on the sidewalk at the top of the curb ramp. A detectable warning is at the base of the ramp abutting the curb line, with dimensions of 1.2 meters (4 ft) wide (same width as curb ramp) by 600 mm (24 in) deep. The maximum superelevation for the street is shown as 5%. If the algebraic difference between the curb ramp and street exceeds 11%, then a 600 mm (24 in) level strip is required at the base of the curb ramp. The illustration also notes that this change angle between the curb ramp and street must be flush without a lip, raised joint, or gap.


Lesson Summary

  • Pedestrians can have many different needs and abilities.
  • Accessible design will allow ALL pedestrians to more easily and safely navigate the system.

 

FHWA-HRT-05-100

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