A study of cities across the world shows pedestrians are upping their pace at an alarming rate as they scurry from place to place, determined to cram as much as possible into each day.

Scientists say it is symptomatic of a modern life driven by e-mail, text messages and a need to be available 24 hours a day.

The most dramatic increases were found in Asia among the fast-growing "tiger" economies.

Pedestrians in Singapore were crowned the world's fastest movers, walking 30 percent faster than they did in the early 1990s, and in China, the pace of life in Guangzhou has increased by more than 20 percent.

Copenhagen and Madrid were the fastest European cities, beating Paris and London. And despite its reputation as "the city that never sleeps", New York ranked only eighth in the pace race, behind Dublin and Berlin.

Richard Wiseman, a professor of psychology at the University of Hertfordshire who helped conduct the research, used a 1994 study of pedestrians' speed as a comparison and found that on average city dwellers now move 10 percent faster.

"The pace of life in our major cities is now much quicker than before," he said. "This increase in speed will affect more people than ever, because for the first time in history the majority of the world's population are now living in urban centers."

Wiseman is worried by the rising need for speed.

"We just have this feeling that we should be producing and active all of the time," he said. "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."

The study was carried out with the help of the British Council, which promotes British cultural links with countries around the world.

Researchers in each city found a busy street with a wide, flat pavement, free from obstacles and sufficiently uncrowded to allow people to walk at their maximum speed. They then timed how long it took 35 people to walk 60ft.

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

The times, in seconds, recorded in 32 cities across the world are listed below:

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

© Reuters 2007. All rights reserved.