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Car-free cities: pathways to healthy urban living?

March 3, 2016 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm


ITS Collaborative Research Event

Car-free cities: pathways to healthy urban living? 

Guest Speaker – Professor Mark Nieuwenhuijsen (CREAL)

Booking: All welcome. Please contact Haneen Khreis (ts12hrk@leeds.ac.uk) to confirm a place and receive pre-workshop briefing paper and asset mapping form.


The Institute for Transport Studies (ITS) is initiating a series of cross-University collaborative research events which are designed to bring together researchers with interests in a diverse range of transport-related topics. The aim is to offer a forum for open discussions with others across the University and beyond and identify the potential for research collaborations. We will also seek to bring key external experts and potential funders into this arena in order to help to promote our research ideas to them. This event is a follow-up on the previous ITS Collaborative Research Event: Urban transport policy and planning and public health: impacts, gaps and future directions. 

Many cities across the world are seeking to shift their transportation focus away from private cars and towards greener, citizen-focused and more active mobility means. Hamburg, Oslo, Helsinki, and Madrid have recently announced their plans to become (partly) private car-free cities. Other cities like Paris, Milan, Chengdu, Masdar, Bogota, and Hyderabad have measures that aim at reducing traffic including implementing car-free days, investing in cycling infrastructure and pedestrianization, restricting parking spaces and considerable increases in public transport provision. Such plans and measures are particularly implemented with the declared aim of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but also the high air pollution levels, which many city centers are currently experiencing.  These reductions are also likely to benefit public health.

Some of the likely effects of car-free policies are e.g. significant reductions in traffic-related air pollution, noise, and temperature in city centres, and therefore a reduction in associated mortality and morbidity. Furthermore the reduction in the number of cars and therefore a reduction in the need for parking places and road space may provide opportunities to increase green space and green networks in cities, which in turn can lead to many health benefits. All these measures are likely to lead to higher levels of active mobility and physical activity and therefore improve public health and provide more opportunities for people to interact with each other within public space. However, the likelihood and feasibility of car free cities remain unclear.  What are the potential policy measures or packages to promote car free cities/ reduce traffic in inner cities and where do such policies fail and succeed?

The aim of this workshop is to highlight the potential health benefits and discuss the desirably and feasibility of car-free cities and relevant transport policies.


March 3, 2016
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm


Institute for Transport Studies


Geography East (Institute for Transport Studies), G.16
University of Leeds
Leeds, LS2 9JT United Kingdom
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