The consequences of congestion in urban zones are as far-reaching as they are diverse. It’s about much more than the immediate nuisance of wasted time – not only does a city centre in gridlock see its economy suffer and its people despair, but most notably it will have a negative impact on citizens’ health and well-being. ECF has long encouraged decision-makers to consider the wider picture when looking at the benefits that cycling has to offer for both urban mobility and society in general.
In their Signals 2014 publication, the European Environment Agency calls for a systemic approach in the way we look at certain issues – meaning they want to encourage people to think about issues as part of a bigger interlinked ‘system’, which better fits reality. Up until now, experts have sometimes preferred to keep within the boundaries of their discipline, overlooking the effects that do not fall within the range of their microscope. But the need to branch out is especially relevant for building the cities of tomorrow that need to run on less: resource efficiency, the circular economy, smart growth, etc.
ECF backs the EEA’s proposal and urges all actors involved in the fields of environment and transport to take up their recommendations. Doing so will change the way we perceive society’s major challenges, and has the potential to dramatically recalibrate our priorities for the better.
Recommendation 6 of our European manifesto for 2014-2019 reads:
“Transport and public health are intricately linked. Lack of physical activity is the greatest risk for major lifestyle diseases and the most important cost driver for European health care systems. Active mobility can reduce these costs considerably as prevention is much cheaper than treatment. (…) Member States should include the benefits of cycling in health policy and to integrate the health dimension in transport appraisal.”
You can find a Euractiv.com article on the EEA report here
The EEA Signals 2014 report itself is available here
Read our manifesto in full here