Green and healthy urban mobility: Are we moving in the right direction?
Transport and mobility are critical to economic activity and daily life in the UNECE region. When considering transport infrastructure, freight transport, automotive and auto parts industries, transport-related activity can count for up to 20% of GDP. But transport impacts also our physical and psychological health and environment, through e.g., congestion, air pollution, greenhouse gas and noise emissions and road traffic accidents and these impacts are exacerbated in urban agglomerations.
This means that Member States must increasingly look at how transport’s negative impact on cities and their surrounding areas can be minimized by innovative policy responses. Policymakers and technical experts from the transport, environment and health sectors examined these issues in depth at THE PEP 2012 Symposium “Green and Health-friendly Mobility for Sustainable Urban Life” on 14 November 2012.
Panelists explored the multiple challenges arising in today’s urban centers, with a view toward the city of the future, one that supports green growth, low emissions and encourages healthy lifestyles through, e.g. eco-driving, e-mobility and active (non-motorized) transport such as walking and cycling (http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/thepep/en/flyers/The_PEP_2012_Symposium-Poster_light.pdf).
2nd Decade of THE PEP
The Symposium preceded the 10th Anniversary session of THE PEP Steering Committee. Discussions at the Symposium, will provide input to the 4th High-level Meeting on Transport, Health and Environment (4HLM), to be held on 14-16 April 2014 in Paris, hosted by the Government of France.
The 4HLM aims to attract ministers from all three sectors, to underline the importance of an integrated policy approach towards sustainable urban mobility to set a renewed agenda for transport, health and environment in the Pan-European region.
While the challenges of congestion, noise, air pollution and GHG emissions and road traffic injuries have not disappeared, the 2nd Decade of THE PEP will seek to create a new vision for urban living that reflects evolving trends, such as:
- changing demographics (aging populations, in-migration to cities),
- environmental change due to the expected increase in extreme weather,
- accessibility (e.g. for persons with reduced mobility, vulnerable populations such as the elderly and the poor) and
- a new focus on urban planning and design and the built environment (e.g. more dense and compact cities of mixed zoning to limit commute time, PEP UP! The Car-Free City Center Initiative);
- social and employment policies to encourage active mobility (e.g. incentives for flex-time, shower facilities and bike racks at work)
- standards for signs and signals for safe cycle and pedestrian traffic.
For more information, please visit: www.THEPEP.org.
Note to editors
The Pan-European Programme on Transport, Health and Environment (THE PEP) addresses the inter-linkages between the three sectors through a unique policy platform, run jointly by the UNECE’s Transport and Environment Divisions and the World Health Organization’s Regional Office for Europe (WHO/Europe).
Moderated by Swiss Television Journalist Muriel Siki, the Symposium featured speakers from WHO, the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution, POLIS, FIATA and the Government of Austria.