Growing up in Los Angeles, people always thought it was strange that I walked so fast. Their curiosity was also piqued when I wanted to walk to specific destinations as opposed to driving. Naturally I found it not surprising that I wound up in New York, where everyone else walks quickly. However, I found this recent study that examined the quickest walkers in the world and was definitely disappointed by the results.
From The Empire Zone:
Positing that walking is a physical measure of urban frenzy, a University of Hertfordshire researcher released a study that found that New Yorkers ranked far down on a list of quick-steppers around the world.
In a sample of 32 cities, New York ranked 8th.
Its residents, on average, took 12 seconds to cover 60 feet, or some 3.4 miles per hour. (Michael Johnson’s world record for the 200-meter dash is equivalent to 23 miles per hour.)
But, in what some are taking as a blow to hometown pride, the Hertfordshire study of “the pace of life” found that the residents of Berlin; Curitiba (a city of 3 million in Brazil); Dublin; Guangzhou (formerly Canton, a city of 6 million in China); Madrid; and Copenhagen all out-hustled New York.
I personally don't like this study. Perhaps there are misconceptions out there about certain cities if they are slow or fast, but I know NYC is definitely a quick-footed town. I think the study needs to differentiate between locals and tourists. Myself and many other New Yorkers constantly have to side-step the throngs of visitors strolling along with their subway maps and frequent standstills in order to have their picture taken in front of some famous building. Don't get me wrong, I am fully in favor of letting our guests soak it all in, but if you are going to do a study on this, make sure your subjects look like they are walking somewhere with a purpose.