Active Mobility-the New Health Trend in Smart Cities, or even More?
1 ABSTRACT Active mobility (AM), including walking and cycling as single trips or in combination with public transport, has recently been promoted by health professionals-with WHO leading the way-to tackle health problems caused by physical inactivity. In fact only 1/3 of the European population is estimated to meet the minimum recommended levels of physical activity by the WHO of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity 5 times per week. Being aware that we spend between 70 to 80 min per day
... to 80 min per day travelling and that 50% of all car trips (in Europe) are shorter than 5 km, active mobility has an enormous potential to get people more active. However, how is this knowledge of proven positive health effects of AM been taken into account-either by urban and transport planning authorities or by health administration? Is this "new health trend" visible in strategies, cooperation or-what's even more important-in implemented measures in smart cities? "Physical activity through sustainable transport approaches" (PASTA 1)" is a European project addressing and analyzing the promising link between transport and health. It pursues an interdisciplinary approach involving scientists and leading experts from a range of disciplines, including (among others) transport and urban planning, public health, environmental sciences, climate change and energy, and transport economics. The overall aim of the project is to generate knowledge about the effects of AM in consideration of health effects. This paper reveals backgrounds and relationships between transport and health work in seven European case study cities (Antwerp, Barcelona, London, Örebro, Rome, Vienna and Zurich) based on workshops and stakeholder interviews conducted in PASTA. Considering cities' framework conditions (strategies and policies, infrastructure and other measures promoting AM etc.) and comparing stakeholders' perspectives bring out that cities have to struggle with similar barriers and challenges. Otherwise they take promising approaches and efforts towards sustainable and healthy urban development; increasing synergies between the health and transport sector seems to be one of the missing links between transport and health. Good practices and new ideas for transport planners and health experts are provided aiding to create livable conditions through well-planned infrastructure, a safe environment and attractive public space, awareness-raising activities and various broader policies-including the health policy. After all AM should not just be an ephemeral health trend, but common (health) practice.