Supporting Mobility Across European Cities through Physically Active-Friendly Urban Environments

Rosina U. Ndukwe
Active transport i.e. cycling or walking as well as using public transport for everyday journeys is an effective approach with multiple social and environmental benefits for transforming urban environments into active urban environments. Although cycling and walking often remain on the margins of transport planning and infrastructure, there are new approaches emerging along with policies relevant to the creation of urban environments conducive to active travel. Interventions and policies for developing physically active-friendly environments across towns and cities in Europe are central to facilitating the promotion of physical activity and sustainable transport among the local population. A 3-year Erasmus+ project called SPAcE (Supporting Policy and action for Active Environments) involves local government partners and an NGO developing policies and interventions to promote physically active-friendly environments in five European towns/cities: Latvia [Tukums], Italy [Palermo], Romania [Brasov], Spain [Toledo] and Greece [Trikala]. The project has focused on cities with recorded low physical activity levels. 5 working groups across these towns/cities have started co-production to develop Urban Active Environments (UActivE) Action Plans aimed at influencing policy and practice for active transport programmes promoting the use of cycling and walking. Action plans are based on international guidance for healthy urban planning as remaining project partners include universities and an NGO who have provided support, advice and mentoring. Cooperation and co-production with public health professionals, local government officers, education authorities and transport agencies is a key approach to the project. Creating sustainable active urban environments is a key to healthier, cleaner, and economically successful cities. This goal can be reached by increased carbon-free forms of transportation such as walking and cycling. The SPAcE project aims to capture both the challenges and solutions for the development of active transport in urban spaces translating evidence into policy and practice and ensuring innovation at the policy level.

Keywords

Action Plan; Active transport; physical activity; policy intervention; UActivE; urban active environments.

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