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Many great talks at the Polis side event "Creating the liveable, inclusive and healthy city" at the 2016 International Transport Forum

25 May 2016

Polis in cooperation with the Transport, Health and Environment Pan-European Programme (THE PEP) -  a joint initiative of the United Nations Economic Committe for Europe (UNECE) and the World Health Organisation - hosted a well attended Side Event on health and trasnport at the 2016 International Transport Forum's Summit in Leipzig on 18 May.

This year's theme "Green and inclusive transport" offered an ideal stage for Polis and its members to show a range of transport, health and environment projects about promoting physical activity through sustainable transport approaches, as well as where national policy has been successfully implemented at local level.

The aim was to outline the link between health and transport, including the use of Health economic assessment tool (HEAT) for walking and cycling, and air quality.

Setting the scene

Active travel is at the core of healthy, sustainable and more inclusive urban livelihoods for all.

A sedentary lifestyle is a primary risk factor of non–communicable diseases (NCD) in Western Countries. These can cause major health problems for individuals and great economic costs for the society as a whole. Getting more active can be easily achieved by introducing active travel into everyday life.

These are exciting times: We are witnessing the rise of a new urban mobility culture. Most cities aspire to create more people-friendly places to encourage walking and cycling by establishing new services to cater for pedestrians (i.e. wayfinding, real time multimodal information, shared and multi-modal mobility solutions) and by designing suitable infrastructure to make walking and cycling safer and more comfortable (see: SWITCH project).

Moving around by foot and on a bicycle is becoming easier, safer and more enjoyable. Besides that, increasing the share of walking and cycling and reducing car traffic leads to a higher quality of life in cities and is an important contribution to reduce GHG-emissions and primary energy consumption.

The "Bristol Method"

The city of Bristol’s ambition is to become a world-leading city in active travel, where 4 out of 5 journeys of five miles or less are made on foot, by bike and public transport. This knowledge-transfer programme was launched by the city of Bristol as 2015 EU Green Capital to share with other cities experience gained by Bristol in its effort towards greater sustainability.

Peter Mann, Service Director for Transport at Bristol City Council, presented the Bristol Method.

A short video interview with Peter Mann during the ITF is available here.

 

Image: From left to right: Mr. Mark Frequin, Mr. Peter Mann, and Mrs. Karen Vancluysen

Cycling in the Netherlands. The challenges of a leader

In October 2015 the informal European Transport Minister Council adopted the “Declaration on Cycling as a climate friendly Transport Mode”. This Declaration includes an Action Plan calling for specific measures to be taken by the Commission, Member States and local and regional authorities.

Mark Frequin, Director General at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, the Netherlands, is also the representative of the Dutch Presidency of the EU Council 2016. He gave an actual overview about the follow-up to the Luxembourg “Declaration on Cycling as a climate friendly Transport Mode” which was held in the informal meeting of transport ministers on ‘smart cities’ held on 14th and 15th of April in Amsterdam.

Moreover he focused in his presentation on climate friendly transport mode, and how to develop sound national plans and help local and regional authorities foster sustainable modes of transport with examples from the Netherlands.

The liveable, inclusive and healthy city with low carbon transport: SOLUTIONS project

Densely populated urban conglomerations in developing countries are facing a wide range of city-related environmental problems where urban mobility could have a larger impact on health and liveability through the reduction of road casualties and air pollution, access to better jobs, healthcare and healthy food.

The international project SOLUTIONS has looked into how non-EU cities are promoting active travel as a way of reducing consumption, emissions, congestion, diseases while efficiently connecting neighborhoods, and communities.

Dr. Florinda Boschetti, Polis Project Manager, Environment and Health in Transport, presented some good practices from non European cities.

Good practice: Canadian Transportation Agency

Accessibility for all is key to create a liveable and inclusive city.

Dr. Scott Streiner, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Transportation Agency, illustrated the case of rail and communities, how to foster collaborative and liveable approaches on issues such as of noise and vibration, inclusive methods to resolving certain disputes about railway crossings, community-based participation and engagement in issues surrounding the construction of rail lines.

And how to foster the human rights of persons with disabilities, such as ensuring that transportation is equally accessible to all.

Image: From left to right: Mr. Christian Schweizer and Dr. Scott Streiner

Liveable, inclusive and healthy cities

Eva Molnar, Director of the Sustainable Transport Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in Geneva, presented the newest mobility challenges world-wide, and how UNECE can help develop efficient, harmonized and integrated, safe and sustainable pan-European transport systems.

Unlocking the value of walking and cycling for health

The challenges and opportunities of linking public health and transport by applying health economic assessment tools (HEAT) and policy instruments to meet the transport and mobility needs of large urban agglomerations was presented by Christian Schweizer, Technical Officer, WHO Regional Office for Europe, and here representing the THE PEP Secretariat.

Presentations

The Polis Side Event was moderated by Mrs. Karen Vancluysen, Secretary General, Polis

Contact

For more information, please contact: Dr. Florinda Boschetti, Polis, rue du Trône 98, B-1050 Brussels, E-mail: FBoschetti@polisnetwork.eu or phone +32 2 500 5674.

The organisers would like to extend their appreciation to the PASTA project for their financial support of this Side Event.