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posted by hubie on Friday May 13, @08:11PM   Printer-friendly
from the you-can-tell-by-the-way-I-walk dept.

Slow walking may be to blame for perceived congestion in pedestrian areas:

If you live in a town or city, you are probably experienced in the art of navigating through crowded areas. But sometimes you can't help but feel like your surroundings are too congested for comfort. Intuition tells us this feeling must be because of the sheer volume of people around us in these moments that causes the perception of somewhere being too congested. But Project Assistant Professor Jia Xiaolu from the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Tokyo wanted to verify this assumption, and ended up proving that it might not actually be the entire truth of the matter.

"Perception of congestion is an important matter for those designing spaces to be used by people, so if there's a way to estimate this perceptual value, it would be useful to know," said Xiaolu. [...]

"That the velocity of pedestrians rather than density of the crowd better indicates perceived congestion was a bit of a surprise," said Xiaolu. "But it leads us to believe that people perceive a space too congested when they are simply unable to walk at the speed they wish to; there is a gap between their desired and actual velocity. [...]

"We found that women and also older people generally felt less constrained than men and younger people, which is probably due to their lower desired velocity, thus a smaller gap between their desired and actual velocity," said Xiaolu. "And while this is interesting, I think our future studies will focus on spaces where the objective is not so much about getting from A to B, but more goal oriented, such as interacting with a service in a store, gallery or other destination."

Original material: https://www.u-tokyo.ac.jp/focus/en/press/z0508_00219.html

Journal Reference:
Xiaolu Jia et al., Revisiting the level-of-service framework for pedestrian comfortability: velocity depicts more accurate perceived congestion than local density, Transportation Research, 2022.
DOI: 10.1016/j.trf.2022.04.007


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  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, @08:19PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, @08:19PM (#1244814)

    I'm not a super athlete or anything, but I feel pretty good about the fact that I'm 54 and still find my self in situations where I can treat pedestrians as if they're standing still. A lot of times they look to be in their 30s or 40s, but massively overweight. Every once in a while I'll see a fellow "weaver" doing the same thing. It isn't always easy. The people who are decently fast are the ones to watch out for, as they have enough speed to change direction and hit you. The guys toddling out of the aisle full of soda and chips at the grocery store? I can still blow right by 'em like they're standing still. I know it won't last forever. I get leg cramps at night if I work too hard, and I don't dare jump on these knees. It's fun while it lasts.

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  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, @08:23PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, @08:23PM (#1244815)

    I'm about your age, and my wife is almost 10 yrs younger than me.
    She complains that I blow ahead of her on purpose. I swear, some people are slow or fast walkers just like some are slow or fast eaters. I'm overweight, but a fast walker and a slow eater. It is what it is. *shrug*

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, @08:45PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 13, @08:45PM (#1244816)

      There's a lot of factors, including the length of the legs. I can't walk as slow as some of those short people do, and they'll walk several abreast as if they own the entire sidewalk. Meanwhile, I'm taking a step, stopping, taking another step and stopping as physically walking that slowly is just awkward. And, I'm not even particularly tall. I'm more or less exactly average for my age.