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Gait speed and pedestrian crossings in COPD
  1. Claire M Nolan1,2,
  2. Samantha S C Kon1,2,3,
  3. Suhani Patel1,2,
  4. Sarah E Jones1,2,
  5. Ruth E Barker1,2,
  6. Michael I Polkey2,
  7. Matthew Maddocks4,
  8. William D-C Man1,2
  1. 1Harefield Pulmonary Rehabilitation and Muscle Research Laboratory, Harefield Hospital, Harefield, UK
  2. 2NIHR Respiratory Biomedical Research Unit, Royal Brompton & Harefield NHS Foundation Trust and Imperial College, Harefield, UK
  3. 3Department of Respiratory Medicine, The Hillingdon Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK
  4. 4King's College London, Cicely Saunders Institute, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Claire Nolan, NIHR Doctoral Fellow, Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Department of Respiratory Medicine, Harefield Hospital, Harefield, Middlesex UB9 6JH, UK; c.nolan{at}


The assumed minimum walking speed at pedestrian crossings is 1.2 m/s. In this prospective cohort study, usual walking speed was measured over a 4 m course in 926 community-dwelling, ambulatory patients with stable COPD. Mean (SD) walking speed was 0.91 (0.24) m/s with only 10.7% walking at a speed equal or greater than 1.2 m/s. In order for 95% of this cohort to safely negotiate a pedestrian cross, traffic lights would have to assume a minimum walking speed of 0.50 m/s (2.4 times longer than current times). The current assumed normal walking speed for pedestrian crossings is inappropriate for patients with COPD.

The studies were registered on and these data relate to the pre-results stage: NCT01649193, NCT01515709 and NCT01507415.

  • COPD ÀÜ Mechanisms

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  • Contributors CNM and SSCK contributed equally to this study. WD-CM, SSCK, MM: substantial contributions to the conception and design of the study; CMN, SSCK, SP, SEJ, REB: substantial contribution to the acquisition of data; CMN, SSCK, MIP, MM, WM: analysis and interpretation of the data; CMN, SSCK, MIP, MM, WD-CM: first draft of the manuscript; All authors: revision of the manuscript critically for important intellectual content, approval of the final manuscript; CMN, SSCK, WD-CM: accountability for all aspects of the work.

  • Funding This work was supported by a Medical Research Council (UK) New Investigator Research Grant (G1002113/98576) awarded to WD-CM.

  • Competing interests This work was supported by a Medical Research Council (UK) New Investigator Research Grant (G1002113/98576) awarded to WD-CM, who was also supported by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) for Northwest London. CMN and SEJ are supported by NIHR Doctoral Research Fellowships. MM is supported by NIHR CLAHRC for South London. The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Medical Research Council, the NHS, the National Institute for Health Research or the Department of Health.

  • Ethics approval West London and London Dulwich Research Ethics Committees.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.