I am a fast walker. When in London I often notice that my fellow pedestrians needing to hurry to cross the road before the traffic starts moving. The ILC study about older people and transport explained the reason why.
Pelican crossings assume that pedestrians walk at a pace of at least 1.2 metres per second (2.7 miles per hour) but 76 % of men and 85 % of women over 65 walk more slowly than this. Here is the research on the subject.
What has changed in recent years is the number of cyclists so not only does the pedestrian have to consider the crossing lights but the throng of lycra clad cyclists who don't always pay to much attention to traffic lights.
Now they UK is not the only country that expects its pedestrians to sprint a cross the road. In Brazil, 3 out of every 10 car run-overs involves an older person. To address this problem they have introduced a system whereby the pedestrian can alter the walk time to something more suitable for their older legs.
This might seem to be a minor issue but it is a great example of how little time we spend thinking about creating an age-friendly environment. Dick Stroud