Walk the talk: public transport a key enabler for healthy cities

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  • Advocacy

For World Health Day on 7 April 2018, UITP published an opinion letter on our Euractiv blog, signed by our Director of Advocacy & Outreach, Dionisio González. Read below an excerpt from the letter on this important issue:

Cities around the world are facing extraordinary challenges and mobility can be one of the key sectors to their success or failure in meeting those challenges. Optimising the benefits of public transport for society requires aligning mobility policies with the vision and strategies of urban development. Education and employment, economic activity, tourism, culture and social inclusion… are among the critical aspects addressed by the New Urban Agenda, a roadmap developed by the United Nations. However, it is, undoubtedly, in the field of health that the positive impacts of sustainable urban mobility can be perceived, especially in the context of the current growth of global urbanisation.

For years, important capitals and states around the world are discussing different options to improve air quality for their citizens. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 75% of carbon emissions are produced in cities and with now more than 60% of the world population living in urban areas, the debate on how to decarbonise the mobility sector have never been more pressing.

To be clear, air pollution kills. Indeed, each year 3 million people die prematurely due to air pollution, which is particularly affecting large cities in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The WHO has estimated that air pollution causes one in three deaths from chronic respiratory diseases and different types of lung cancer, as well as one in four deaths from heart attack. In addition to air pollution, other important health risks may be linked to the car-based habits of urban dwellers, such as obesity, cardio-vascular diseases and other noncommunicable diseases. In a factsheet updated in February 2018, the WHO reminded that ‘insufficient physical activity is one of the leading risk factors for death worldwide.’

To be clear, air pollution kills.

Read the full letter now!

Read our Policy Brief on health in public transport!

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