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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:

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

Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by stretch611 on Saturday May 14, @02:06AM (4 children)

    by stretch611 (6199) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 14, @02:06AM (#1244867)

    Seriously, do we need to complain about people because they walk too slow?

    I understand... I used to work in NYC and I know what it was like walking from the Port Authority on 42 & 8th all the way over to 52nd & 6th Ave. And usually even worse was going for lunch when everyone leaves at noon and needs to be back by 1pm. (Lunch was the bigger nightmare by far.) But, hell, be a man (or woman) and deal with it... I did for years it isn't that difficult really.

    But here is the thing... You do not walk for speed. I mean, some try to, but lets face it, if you are pressed for time, you drive or have someone drive you. Pedestrians occasionally stop to smell the flowers, or look in store windows, site-see, or just stop, look up at the sun and breathe some fresh air. It is not their fault if they are not in the same rush that you are in. There is no minimum speed on a sidewalk... anywhere as far as I know. If they are too slow for you walk around them... if they are a big group and you can not get around them, cross the street and walk on the other side. In low vehicle traffic areas, walk around them on the road to pass.)

    If you show up to work late and your boss yells at you, are you going to say, well, gee, the other pedestrians just walked to slow today, I couldn't get around them and that is why I am late. Is there anyone who actually thinks that this excuse would work at all?

    If you are so illl-tempered that this would cause you to blow a gasket, you should not walk. Period. You should drive, etc. But if you insist on walking please blow a gaket...literally, it may cause some tourists to have an attraction to take a picture of the crazed lunatic that had a stroke on the sidewalk.

    Vaccinated, boosted (twice), and still expecting to be asked to roll up my sleeve again in the fall
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  • (Score: 2) by lentilla on Saturday May 14, @02:57AM

    by lentilla (1770) on Saturday May 14, @02:57AM (#1244877)

    I used to work with a fella that liked to go for a jog at lunchtime. If people are familiar with a character called John Becker from the TV series Becker [] you'd have an exact match. Lanky, misanthropic, really smart and quite kind in his own odd way. Prone to yelling at clients over the telephone and slamming down the receiver. I liked him.

    So every lunchtime he'd get in his jogging clothes and run through the city streets yelling "KEEP LEFT!" at every man, woman and child. He return to the office cursing "those bloody tourists!" Every single day. One could only smile and have a private inward chuckle.

  • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Saturday May 14, @03:25AM

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Saturday May 14, @03:25AM (#1244882) Journal

    I understand... I used to work in NYC and I know what it was like walking from the Port Authority on 42 & 8th all the way over to 52nd & 6th Ave.

    That's the worst stretch in the city for pedestrian congestion, from a major port of entry for Bridge & Tunnel folks through Times Square to 6th Ave where people are coming in from Grand Central, too. The press of people is enough to jam things up, but when you add in tourists who block sidewalks or don't know how to walk in a crowd it gets nuts.

    But slow walking isn't really as much of an obstacle. If somebody is walking slowly you just dart around them. It's when they abruptly stop mid-block or veer right or left that the flow of traffic binds up.

    Washington DC delenda est.
  • (Score: 2) by Joe Desertrat on Sunday May 15, @11:48PM (1 child)

    by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Sunday May 15, @11:48PM (#1245207)

    Seriously, do we need to complain about people because they walk too slow?

    I do. Maybe because I've walked with a long stride my entire life, but as I've aged I find it starts to get physically painful to walk in the sort of baby steps required to stay behind some of these slow walkers.

    • (Score: 2) by stretch611 on Monday May 16, @04:03PM

      by stretch611 (6199) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 16, @04:03PM (#1245344)

      Well, as I mention above... just be a man and deal with it. Walk around them if you are unhappy.

      And your complaints on needing to walk using baby steps is falling on deaf ears... At 6'11" (2.11m), I just happen to know a little bit about having longer legs and a longer stride than the vast majority of people walking on this earth.

      Vaccinated, boosted (twice), and still expecting to be asked to roll up my sleeve again in the fall