Well, plenty of people know that walking and biking are healthier for individuals than driving. And most understand that either is also better for the environment. A paper published in The Lancet puts the two together in an attempt to understand the public health implications of efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. To read the paper click here.
The conclusion isn’t surprising, perhaps; both individual health gains can be made and CO2 emissions reduced by changing public policy. To achieve this, “urban trips” made by car need to be replaced by “active travel.” And how would we achieve this? It’s obvious, but really needs to repeated over and over and over again and then perhaps tacked to the door of every agency and office with the authority to shape our urban environment.
Creation of safe urban environments for mass active travel will mean prioritization of the needs of pedestrians and cyclists compared with those of motorists. Walking or cycling should be the most direct, convenient, and pleasant options for most urban trips. Policy makers should divert investment from roads for motorists towards provision of infrastructure for pedestrians and cyclists.