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Transport design could improve public health

London

Rethinking transport design could significantly improve public health in urban areas, according to a new report.

The joint study by Arup, BRE, University College London and Area Research found that more walking, cycling and other physical activities could be encouraged in cities by taking a holistic approach to transport design.

Health + Mobility: A design protocol for mobilising healthy living provides guidance for city leaders, planners and architects on identifying a city’s health issues and influencing them positively.

“What is really unique about this research is the coming together of healthcare experts and built environment specialists to find practical measures that will help reduce preventable diseases and improve mental health,” said Arup associate director Paul Grover.

“Often health measures are focused on an individual but there are measures that cities can implement to promote and support health and wellbeing.”

Researchers tested the transport design protocol in Liverpool’s Knowledge Quarter and found that reducing the amount of wide and busy roads, efficient transport planning and creating more attractive cycle networks could improve air quality and encourage citizens to be more active.

“It has been proven that the design of our cities can have a significant impact on our way of life and our health, which needs to be considered when planning the built environment, including infrastructure and transportation,” said Area Research affiliate Lydia Collis.

“With rapidly increasing rates of preventable diseases such as obesity and diabetes, the conversation is now more important than ever and we hope that this report sparks a change in how we approach these issues in order to help keep people healthy.”

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