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Urban Cycling Can Save 10,000 Lives Yearly



Over 76 600 people would be employed in green and healthy transport every year and 10 000 lives would be saved if major European cities reached the cycling modal share of Copenhagen. This is the conclusion of a new publication released today by UNECE and the WHO Regional Office for Europe.

For the first time, Unlocking new opportunities estimates that investing in “green and healthy transport” not only has positive health and environmental effects but is also economically profitable.

Transport, health and environment come together in Paris

The new findings are released on the occasion of the Fourth High-level Meeting on Transport, Health and Environment, organized by UNECE and the WHO Regional Office for Europe and hosted by France. On 14–16 April 2014, European ministries of transport, health and the environment gathering in Paris will examine how innovative transport policies can create employment opportunities, along with healthier and greener societies. 

“An efficient transport system is vital for the functioning of modern economies. However, transport can greatly damage environment and health. That is why we call for a bold Paris Declaration, urging government investments in green and healthy transport,” says Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “The pay-offs from these investments are enormous and include new jobs and healthier people from more physical activity, fewer road traffic injuries, less noise and better air quality.” 

“Transport, health and environment form a dynamic nexus of vitality and mobility in our cities, presenting a formidable challenge for sustainability, but also great opportunities for a better quality of life,” says Eva Molnar, Director, Transport Division, UNECE, speaking on behalf of Michael Møller, Acting Executive Secretary of UNECE. “The Fourth High-level Meeting calls on Member States, civil society and local and regional authorities to support the future vision of THE PEP : ‘Green and healthy mobility and transport for sustainable livelihoods for all’.”

Cost of transport threatens to offset benefits

Transport provides jobs and access to leisure activities and livelihoods. On the other hand, the overall costs associated with the environmental and health impacts of transport can be up to 4% of a country’s gross domestic product (GDP). 

In the WHO European Region outdoor air pollution, largely caused by traffic, results in almost 500 000 deaths annually, according to new evidence. Road accidents kill 90 000 people prematurely each year. Exposure to excessive street noise affects almost 70 million people. Transport adds 24% to total greenhouse gas emissions in Europe and North America. When it discourages physical activity, transport contributes to nearly 1 million deaths per year.

Public transport sector: a generous local employer

The Danish capital, Copenhagen, is one of the leaders for cycling in Europe; it is only rivalled by Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Of all city trips, 26% are undertaken by bicycle. This level is much higher than in most other cities in the region.

A simple methodology estimated that 76 600 additional jobs might be created if one major city in each country achieved the same cycling modal share as Copenhagen. People would be locally employed in bicycle retail and maintenance, provision of clothing and accessories for cyclists, urban development and new mobility schemes; they would help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and health risks and would support the local economy (Table 1).

Potential results of increasing cycling modal share in major cities

  • Country
  • City
  • Population
  • Current cycling modal
  • share (%)
  • Estimated number of existing jobs associated with cycling
  • Potential number of additional jobs created
  • Additional lives saved

Albania Tirana

536,998

a

73

562

33

Andorra Andorra La Vella

22,256

a

3

23

2

Armenia Yerevan

1,121,933

a

153

1,175

119

Austria Vienna

1,721,573

6

470

1,568

106

Azerbaijan Baku

2,122,300

a

290

2,223

167

Belarus Minsk

1,885,100

0

17

2,215

454

Belgium Brussels

163,210

5

37

156

12

Bosnia and Herzegovina Sarajevo

305,242

a

42

320

30

Bulgaria Sofia

1,170,009

1

53

1,332

195

Canada Ottawa

1,239,140

2

113

1,354

100

Croatia Zagreb

792,875

5

181

758

77

CyprusNicosia

55,014

a

8

58

3

Czech Republic Prague

1,241,664

1

57

1,413

143

Denmark Copenhagen

549,050

26

650

0

0

Estonia Tallinn

401,072

4

73

402

50

Finland Helsinki

595,384

7

190

515

42

France Paris

2,234,105

3

305

2,340

174

Georgia Tbilisi

1,167,600

a

159

1,223

147

Germany Berlin

3,501,872

13

2,073

2,073

151

Greece Athens

655,780

2

60

717

47

Hungary Budapest

1,740,041

1

79

1,981

298

Iceland Reykjavik

117,980

a

16

124

6

Ireland Dublin

527,612

3

72

553

29

Israel Tel Aviv

404,543

9

166

313

13

Italy Rome

2,761,477

0

50

3,219

154

Kazakhstan Astana

661,700

1

30

753

131

Kyrgyzstan Bishkek

889,600

a

122

932

121

Latvia Riga

650,478

a

89

681

92

Liechtenstein Vaduz

5,207

a

1

5

0

Lithuania Vilnius

552,008

1

25

628

102

Luxembourg Luxembourg

99,852

a

14

105

6

Malta Valletta

6,221

a

1

7

0

Monaco Monaco

36,371

a

5

38

3

Montenegro Podgorica

180,810

a

25

189

20

Netherlands Amsterdam

1,068,724

33

1,606

b

b

Norway Oslo

599,230

5

136

573

36

Poland Warsaw

1,710,130

5

374

1,651

194

Portugal Lisbon

474,696

1

22

540

45

Republic of Moldova Chisinau

789,500

a

108

827

283

Romania Bucharest

1,937,421

1

88

2,205

132

Russian Federation Moscow

11,541,000

a

1,576

12,085

2,912

San Marino San Marino

4,479

a

1

5

0

Serbia Belgrade

1,639,505

1

75

1,866

255

Slovakia Bratislava

411,884

a

56

431

51

Slovenia Ljubljana

272,554

10

124

199

17

Spain Madrid

3,265,038

1

149

3,717

211

Sweden Stockholm

864,324

1

39

984

54

Switzerland Bern

124,381

11

62

85

5

Tajikistan Dushanbe

704,000

a

32

801

82

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Skopje

316,849

a

43

332

33

Turkey Ankara

4,890,893

a

668

5,122

565

Turkmenistan Ashgabat

637,000

a

87

667

111

Ukraine Kyiv

2,772,736

a

126

3,156

613

United Kingdom London

7,826,000

3

1,069

8,196

542

United States of America Washington, DC

617,996

3

84

647

36

Uzbekistan Tashkent

2,296,500

a

105

2,614

197

Totals

76,658

9,401

 

http://www.unece.org/index.php?id=35396


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