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Biomechanics for inclusive urban design: effects of tactile paving on older adults’ gait when crossing the street

Thies, SB, Kenney, LPJ, Howard, D, Nester, CJ, Ormerod, M, Newton, R, Baker, RD, Faruk, M and Maclennan, HA 2011, 'Biomechanics for inclusive urban design: effects of tactile paving on older adults’ gait when crossing the street' , Journal of Biomechanics . (In Press)

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In light of our ageing population it is important that the urban environment is easily accessible and hence supports older adults’ independence. Tactile ‘blister’ paving was originally designed to provide guidance for visually impaired people at pedestrian crossings. However, as research links irregular surfaces to falls in older adults, such paving may have an adverse effect on older people. We investigated the effects of tactile paving on older adults’ gait in a scenario closely resembling “crossing the street”. Gait analysis of 32 healthy older adults showed that tactile, as compared to smooth, paving increases the variability in timing of foot placement by 20%, thereby indicating a disturbance of the rhythmic gait pattern. Moreover, toe-clearance during the swing phase increased by 7% on tactile paving, and the ability to stop upon cue from the traffic light was compromised. These results need to be viewed under consideration of the limitations associated with laboratory studies and real world analysis is needed to fully understand their implications for urban design.

Item Type: Article
Themes: Subjects / Themes > R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Health and Wellbeing
Schools: Schools > School of Health Sciences > Centre for Health Sciences Research
Schools > School of Health Sciences
Schools > School of Computing, Science and Engineering > Salford Innovation Research Centre (SIRC)
Schools > School of the Built Environment > Centre for Urban Processes, Resilient Infrastructures & Sustainable Environments (UPRISE)
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Biomechanics
Publisher: Elsevier
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 0021-9290
Depositing User: SBA Thies
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2011 15:03
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2015 23:45

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