Health and Climate Change 2 Public health benefits of strategies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions: urban land transport

Department of Epidemiology and Population Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.
The Lancet (Impact Factor: 45.22). 11/2009; 374(9705):1930-43. DOI: 10.1016/S0140-6736(09)61714-1
Source: PubMed


We used Comparative Risk Assessment methods to estimate the health effects of alternative urban land transport scenarios for two settings-London, UK, and Delhi, India. For each setting, we compared a business-as-usual 2030 projection (without policies for reduction of greenhouse gases) with alternative scenarios-lower-carbon-emission motor vehicles, increased active travel, and a combination of the two. We developed separate models that linked transport scenarios with physical activity, air pollution, and risk of road traffic injury. In both cities, we noted that reduction in carbon dioxide emissions through an increase in active travel and less use of motor vehicles had larger health benefits per million population (7332 disability-adjusted life-years [DALYs] in London, and 12 516 in Delhi in 1 year) than from the increased use of lower-emission motor vehicles (160 DALYs in London, and 1696 in Delhi). However, combination of active travel and lower-emission motor vehicles would give the largest benefits (7439 DALYs in London, 12 995 in Delhi), notably from a reduction in the number of years of life lost from ischaemic heart disease (10-19% in London, 11-25% in Delhi). Although uncertainties remain, climate change mitigation in transport should benefit public health substantially. Policies to increase the acceptability, appeal, and safety of active urban travel, and discourage travel in private motor vehicles would provide larger health benefits than would policies that focus solely on lower-emission motor vehicles.

Download full-text


Available from: Graeme Lindsay
  • Source
    • "The role of transportation in this must be understood as crucial, as lack of time has been repeatedly listed as a detriment of physical activity (Wilcox et al., 2000; Brownson et al., 2001) and active transport could provide means to build physical activity patterns into daily routines. This would enable people to both get sufficient physical activity and subsequently improve their health (Hamer and Chida, 2008; Bauman et al., 2012; Reiner et al., 2013) and if done at a sufficient scale; reduce their carbon impact and local air pollution contribution (Poudenx, 2008; Woodcock et al., 2009; Pratt et al., 2012). Almost half of car journeys are less than 5 km (Xia et al., 2013), and these could be feasibly substituted by active transport modes. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: The recent diesel scandal has again highlighted the impact that the transport sector can have on public health. Aim: To describe the current impact of transport planning on public health. Result: Transport is fundamental to our cities' economic and social development, but causes large health effects and impact through accidents, air pollution, noise, green space and lack of physical activity. Conclusion: There is an urgent need to rebalance and provide better and safer infrastructures and policy support for transport, and particularly, active transport modes, building a new culture for it. A parallel transition in transport and urban planning is needed to improve, in a global and structural way, the relations between urban mobility and health.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2016 · Environment international
  • Source
    • "Promoting cycling, including promoting cycling among children, has in recent years moved up multiple policy agendas in a number of high income countries (The PEP, 2009; Australian Department of Health and Aging, 2010; Department for Transport, 2011; Department of Health and Department for Transport, 2010; Welsh Government, 2012; American Public Health Association, 2012). This reflects various factors, including the health benefits of increasing physical activity among children (Chief Medical Officers of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, 2011); the economic and social benefits of reducing the congestion and community severance associated with cardominated transport systems (Woodcock and Aldred, 2008; Cabinet Office, 2009); and the environmental benefits of reducing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with motorised travel (Woodcock et al., 2009). The potential magnitude of these benefits is considerable, given the substantial proportion of motorised trips that could in theory be made by bicycle (Woodcock et al., 2013): for example, around two-thirds of short trips (r 2 km) by children are made by car and only 3% by bicycle (Department for Transport, 2013). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The ‘Bikeability’ cycle training scheme, a flagship policy of the government in England, aims to give children the skills and confidence to cycle more safely and more often. Little, however, is known about the scheme׳s reach. This paper examined which schools offer Bikeability, and which children participate in cycle training.
    Preview · Article · Jul 2015
  • Source
    • "Recently, a number of studies have attempted to quantify the overall health co-benefits of replacing car travel with alternative transport (Macmillan et al., 2014; Maizlish et al., 2013; Rojas-Rueda et al., 2012). For instance, a UK study (Woodcock et al., 2009) projected the environmental and health benefits of various alternative transport scenarios for 2030 in London. The study indicated that over 500 premature deaths and over 7000 disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) could be saved under alternative transport scenarios. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Background: Motor vehicle emissions contribute nearly a quarter of the world's energy-related greenhouse gases and cause non-negligible air pollution, primarily in urban areas. Changing people's travel behaviour towards alternative transport is an efficient approach to mitigate harmful environmental impacts caused by a large number of vehicles. Such a strategy also provides an opportunity to gain health co-benefits of improved air quality and enhanced physical activities. This study aimed at quantifying co-benefit effects of alternative transport use in Adelaide, South Australia. Method: We made projections for a business-as-usual scenario for 2030 with alternative transport scenarios. Separate models including air pollution models and comparative risk assessment health models were developed to link alternative transport scenarios with possible environmental and health benefits. Results: In the study region with an estimated population of 1.4 million in 2030, by shifting 40% of vehicle kilometres travelled (VKT) by passenger vehicles to alternative transport, annual average urban PM2.5 would decline by approximately 0.4μg/m(3) compared to business-as-usual, resulting in net health benefits of an estimated 13deaths/year prevented and 118 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) prevented per year due to improved air quality. Further health benefits would be obtained from improved physical fitness through active transport (508deaths/year prevented, 6569DALYs/year prevented), and changes in traffic injuries (21 deaths and, 960 DALYs prevented). Conclusion: Although uncertainties remain, our findings suggest that significant environmental and health benefits are possible if alternative transport replaces even a relatively small portion of car trips. The results may provide assistance to various government organisations and relevant service providers and promote collaboration in policy-making, city planning and infrastructure establishment.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2015 · Environment International
Show more