News from CREAL
Policies that stimulate active transportation (walking and bicycling) have been shown to produce significant health benefits. This study, led by CREAL, an allied ISGlobal center and published in Plos One, aims to assess the potential health risks (air pollution, accidents) and benefits (physical activity) of promoting active transportation for commuting populations (age groups 16-64) in six European cities. Researchers conducted a health impact assessment using two scenarios: increased cycling and increased walking.
The primary outcome measure was all-cause mortality related to changes in physical activity level, exposure to fine particulate matter air pollution with a diameter >2.5 microns, as well as traffic fatalities in the cities of Barcelona, Basel, Copenhagen, Paris, Prague, and Warsaw. All scenarios produced health benefits in the six cities. Researchers found that an increase in bicycle trips to 35% of all trips (as in Copenhagen) produced the highest benefits among the different scenarios analysed with in Warsaw 113 annual deaths avoided, 61 in Prague, 37 in Barcelona and Paris, and 5 in Basel. “An increase in walking trips to 50% of all trips (as in Paris) resulted in 19 deaths avoided annually in Warsaw, 11 in Prague, 6 in Basel, 3 in Copenhagen and Barcelona. The scenarios would also reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the six cities by 1,139 to 26,423 (metric tonnes per year)”, explains David Rojas, first author of the study and researcher at CREAL and ISGlobal.
Rojas D. et al. Health impacts of active transportation in Europe. PLoS One. 2016 Mar 1;11(3):e0149990. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149990.