Case Study - Healthy Transport Policies

Synergies between low carbon and healthy transport policies

Jenny Mindell, Judith Cohen, Stephen Watkins, Nick Tyler (2011)
Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers - Transport, 164 (3) 127 - 139


The health agenda may provide support in prioritising potential schemes to address the low-carbon agenda (and vice versa) in transport policy.

This paper explores ways in which the low carbon and health agendas are complementary, and where potential conflicts could arise.

Transport policy increasingly follows the low-carbon agenda - reducing the need to travel, reducing private car use, travelling by foot, bicycle or public transport, fuel-efficient vehicles and novel fuels, lower speeds to smooth traffic flow. They can also contribute to health and well-being, and reduce health inequalities.

The authors examined the effects of implementing low-carbon transport policies on determinants of health such as air pollution, noise, collisions, community severance and access, and the consequent beneficial impacts on health. Policy interventions include increasing active travel across the social gradient and integrating planning, transport, housing, environmental and health systems. It was found that active travel infrastructure is generally the cheapest and quickest transport infrastructure to implement, easiest to maintain, and most cost-effective in terms of both health and carbon benefits.

The study of the design of transport networks to achieve both low-carbon and health objectives will influence decisions relating to the implementation and integration of infrastructure, operation and information systems.