2007_04_rockcenterwalk.jpg

A study from Britain finds that pedestrians in cities across the world are walking 10% faster compared to research from the 1990s. And, somehow, the Big Apple only ranked 8; #1 - Singapore, #2 - Copenhagen, #3 - Madrid. Here's the methodology:

Researchers in each city found a busy street with a wide pavement that was flat, free from obstacles, and sufficiently uncrowded to allow people to walk at their maximum speed...Teams with stop watches timed how long it took 35 men and women to walk along a 60ft stretch of pavement....

They only monitored adults who were on their own, and ignored anyone conducting a mobile phone conversation or struggling with shopping bags.

We'd love to know what 60 feet of sidewalk was measured - and it doesn't sound as though researchers ignored tourists (telltale signs: Clumping, bright backpacks, dazed looks, maps in hands).

But it's not as though walking faster is a good thing. Psychology professor Richard Wiseman told Reuters, "The pace of life in our major cities is now much quicker than before. We just have this feeling that we should be producing and active all of the time. That is fuelled by the email, text, mobile phone culture. But there has to be an upper limit, because if this trend continues, we will arriving places before we have set off." And according to his website, the study from the 1990s "demonstrated that pedestrians’ speed of walking provides a reliable measure of the pace of life in a city, and that people in fast-moving cities are less likely to help others and have higher rates of coronary heart disease." Eep, but walking on the sidewalk, four people wide, is not cool.

A list of the cities measured is after the jump. And try out this fun quiz from Richard Wiseman - it measures your pace of life.

Photograph of people on the sidewalk across from Rockefeller Center by tmcdaily on Flickr

FASTEST
1) Singapore (Singapore); 10.55:
2) Copenhagen (Denmark); 10.82:
3) Madrid (Spain); 10.89:
4) Guangzhou (China): 10.94:
5) Dublin (Ireland); 11.03:
6) Curitiba (Brazil); 11.13:
7) Berlin (Germany); 11.16:
8) New York (United States of America); 12.00:
9) Utrecht (Netherlands); 12.04:
10) Vienna (Austria); 12.06:
11) Warsaw (Poland); 12.07:
12) London (United Kingdom); 12.17:
13) Zagreb (Croatia); 12.20:
14) Prague (Czech Republic); 12.35:
15) Wellington (New Zealand); 12.62:
16) Paris (France); 12.65:
17) Stockholm (Sweden); 12.75:
18) Ljubljana (Slovenia); 12.76:
19) Tokyo (Japan); 12.83:
20) Ottawa (Canada); 13.72:
21) Harare (Zimbabwe); 13.92:
22) Sofia (Bulgaria); 13.96:
23) Taipei (Taiwan): 14.00:
24) Cairo (Egypt); 14.18:
25) Sana’a (Yemen); 14.29:
26) Bucharest (Romania); 14.36:
27) Dubai (United Arab Emirates); 14.64:
28) Damascus (Syria); 14.94:
29) Amman (Jordan); 15.95:
30) Bern (Switzerland); 17.37:
31) Manama (Bahrain); 17.69:
32) Blantyre (Malawi); 31.60.
SLOWEST