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TfL report highlights links between transport and health

Friday 14th February 2014

A new report published by Transport for London (TfL) looks at the role of transport in helping to address the capital’s public health challenges by encouraging active travel.

It also outlines how TfL is investing to “create streets that are inviting to walk and cycle in” and to “make our roads even safer”.

The report, “Improving the health of Londoners: transport action plan”, suggests that “London’s transport system has a highly significant role to play in helping tackle the major public health challenges that the city faces”.

The report goes on to say that “the quality of our health is inextricably linked to the transport services we provide and the incentives and choices we offer for how we travel around London”.

In his foreword, Sir Peter Hendy CBE, TfL’s commissioner, says: “More than two-thirds of all public transport trips also involve walking for five minutes or more. This is highly significant because, in many cases, this will be the main way Londoners are physically active.

“If we can improve the attractiveness of our environment then we will probably also provide even greater incentives for people to be more physically active. The potential benefits of this are huge.”

The report goes on to say: “The important role of transport in improving health is reflected in changes to local government responsibilities and resources that came into place in March 2013.

“Local authorities are now responsible for demonstrating improvements in 68 indicators of the health of their residents. Many of these indicators relate to streets and transport including road traffic injuries, air quality, noise, physical activity and social connectedness.”

Click here to download the report.

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It's good to see the positive references to wide-area 20mph limits.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (4) | Disagree (9)
-5

It's a very political document. On p75 it states “if every adult in London achieved the minimum physical activity requirements of 150 minutes per week” there would be 4,104 deaths avoided per year (18.2%). The implication is that TfL now see their job, through transport policy, to force Londoners and visitors to exercise more. It's a noble aspiration but where's their authority to micromanage our lives come from, was there a referendum I missed?

And for policies TfL are enacting (such as Rod's 20mph) they state on p71 in Action 4 “Where evidence is lacking we will contribute by publishing our evaluations”. So when the evidence does not support their policies they are not considering scientific trials, nor are they planning to gather and publish the data required for a competent analysis.

Surely Rod would agree we need the evidence that scientific trials could so easily provide?
Dave Finney, Slough

Agree (10) | Disagree (7)
+3

I wonder if TfL used the recent Tube strike as an opportunity to measure increase in activity and possibly health of Londoners? We unfit people had raised blood pressure from the queues etc and the odd coronary to boot. I prefer to go upstairs on the double deckers as my exercise (sorry can't say that as exercise apparently makes people think of going to the gym), I mean activity and I get a good view. Seriously there seems to be nothing new in this report, it is an amalgamation of many papers which does not say anything new. I hope that our partners in Public Health will recognise we have been promoting active travel for some time and work with us.
Peter Westminster

Agree (3) | Disagree (1)
+2