(Mass transit because you’re more likely to see commuters! Outside big cities you will measure fewer people walking to work, because they drove).
So, strongly correlated with economic activity and cultural factors around timeliness, but no deep psychological explanation required.
I walk fast in the city when I’m going to/from work or trying to get somewhere on my break.
I don’t walk as fast on the weekends, and tourists in the city certainly seem to be in no particular hurry (at least, it seems that way when stuck behind them clogging up the footpath).
Last week, I was working in a smaller city 30 miles out. So I drove, and out in the suburbs, I can park pretty close to where I'm going.
Today, I was working in the city, a mile from home. At that distance, there's a good chance I wouldn't be able to find parking any closer to where I'm going! So I walk, and that's a decent amount of ground to cover.
Smaller city means better parking, so you don't need to walk as far. When you get really small (like Psychro), things are naturally close enough together you don't need to walk far at all.
I'd look not just at how long it takes people to cover 50 feet, but the starting/ending points for their entire trips. I bet when people take optimal modes of transportation for their routes, their trips simply require more walking in bigger cities.
I tend to walk slower when I'm going a longer distance because I want to avoid arriving at my destination drenched in sweat, although I suppose this could be driven partially by the fact that I live in a tropical city (Hong Kong).
Most likely it is. I live in Poland, and there I can walk very fast without visibly sweating, except on the hottest days of the summer, and during winter iff I wear too thick clothes.
Been to HK/Shenzhen in early winter, and what you have there then seems equivalent to our summers :).
I do think that the weather is a factor that should be studied... Another factor is location, I've found that people walk faster in Central than in other places but that might follow their theory about money.
Would you drive, just to travel a mile? Barely seems worth it in the best case. That's without getting into the environmental and social issues.
The bigger issue is that the "best case" is more brought by luck than anything. I've lived plenty of places where walking that mile wasn't actually feasible. No sidewalks, for example. Work that expects employees to arrive to work clean and dry, no matter the weather. Work that provides little space to store winter gear. Sometimes, the drive is seriously shorter: You might be driving a mile, but they don't allow walking on those roads, so the walk is a mile and a half.
The social issues are important things to consider depending on where you live, as they might make it nearly impossible to walk without police harassment. Especially at 2am.
On the other hand, he keeps fit, enjoys walking recreationally and happily walks for miles when hiking, golfing, or fishing. But he'll drive his car as close as possible to the start of the trail first.
I am guilty of driving just to travel a mile, on occasion. When you do physical labor, have to carry your own tools, go to work before sunrise, and may not be done until well after midnight, it's really nice to know that when you get off shift at 3am you'll be able to hit the pillow 10 minutes later.
The bus sounds like nice solution, but it's more expensive ... and it shuts down entirely for the 4 hours that I'd need it most (1am-5am).
BTW, that's one of the major problems with public transit around Seattle. Rent is terrible, traffic is terrible, parking is terrible, and it's easy to say "so just take the bus", but we don't run the bus at hours when a lot of blue-collar workers need it.
The choice seems obvious to me.
So unless you're travelling somewhere afterwards, where's the upside?
Eg a math major can transfer to just about any engineering field with little cost, but its harder to go from say CS to a math major. Philosophy might apply to anything, while art history is quite limited in application elsewhere.
In the same fashion, you should not ask “unless you’re travelling elsewhere”, but rather, “unless you’re planning not to travel elsewhere”; the car gives you both options. You’ve essentially not made a decision regarding travel. Walking otoh does make a decision on the matter (at 15 minutes extra, outside lunch is less appealing; at 20-30, its likely unviable).
Thus, in this particular regard, driving needs no justification, but walking does.
Personally. Driving is stressful and uncertain (doubly so in cities with a lot of traffic), while walking is nice and relaxing.
For example, most of the "walking speed" measurements are done in "downtown locations". Most cities are not made up of downtown locations, downtown is one location in the city, so the measurements only indicate why people walk fast in downtown locations.
They also quote other factors that change the results, like environment, and culture. So basically the results change for any cities that aren't identical. And they're trying to use a national metric (GDP) to relate to walking speed in individual cities, when it's obvious that walking speed is going to relate more to local economic metrics, not national.
I can't remember where that argument was made, and I never fact checked it, so take it with a grain of salt. However, it seems much more convincing than the 'pace of life' argument.
To avoid attack, move with "synchrony and energy", with purpose. The city people are doing exactly this.
I'll walk straight through at a brisk pace with a little bit of a scowl on my face as though I'm annoyed to have to be crossing this same area of town again and none of these f'ng people had better get in my f'ng way.
Now I know why I do that.
> Interestingly, Wiseman clocked some of the quickest feet in Singapore, China, and Brazil — perhaps a reflection of these rising economies.
Sure, China can obviously be considered rising. Brazil; sure why not? But Singapore? That economy already rose a long time ago. The have one of the highest GDP PPP per capita in the world and have reached convergence. How odd.
So if I see that I might make a green light if I walk faster I start to speed up, and then I catch myself maybe 20 meters after the light and slow down.
Same with trying to avoid bicycle paths and catch buses.
It's all one big video game and it raises your pace significantly. I often catch myself walking faster than I intended and make an effort to slow down.
But actually I think it's a mix: more dates in peoples lifes, wanting to flee the noise (little joy in transit on foot), false urgency to catch public transit because murphies lets you remember all the times you just so missed the tram, as noted by others: more transit by foot in the city in general because of public transport.
> (plot with logarithmic axis)
/me closes tab
- Desire to shorten the parts of the commute where I can’t read a book (on my phone)
- Desire to shorten the commute in general to maximise time at home or work (day is more relaxed if you arrive earlier)
- Have a set of transport departure times in mind, for the optimal ‘smooth’ journey and want to be sure to arrive early enough to guarantee not missing these. Lowers stress.
- Brisk walking raises heart rate and brings endorphins
- Everyone else walks at this speed. To deviate makes it harder for the person deviating as they aren’t working with the ‘flow’.
"Interestingly, Wiseman clocked some of the quickest feet in Singapore, China, and Brazil — perhaps a reflection of these rising economies."
I'm originally from a small town and everything is slower there, not just walking.
Time is processed differently.
Also - consider if they did the same measurement in a city, but out in the burbs? I'll be you find most people not so fast.
Subways just have flow speeds.
In small towns, walking is, for the most part, a recreational or social activity.
Right at the top of the article, the photo of rapidly walking people is taken on London Bridge. That is where people were run down in 2017. Of course people would want to get through that area as fast as possible.