Low carbon mobility describes methods and policies intended to make all transport modes more sustainable through the use of green alternatives [Interreg Baltic Sea Region 2021-2027].
Low carbon mobility can confer positive benefits on health outcomes and air quality. It has been recognised that the implementation of low-carbon policies in urban passenger transport has immediate positive benefits by promoting physical activity and improvements in air quality [Wolkinger 2018; Haines 2012].
In Australia, the combined economic cost of motor vehicle-related mortality and morbidity in 2000 was estimated to be approximately $2.7 billion [Xia 2013]. The combined benefits of improved air quality and physical fitness attributable to eliminating short motor trips have been estimated to exceed $8 billion annually [Xia 2013].
Two reviews were identified. One review (n=66 articles) explored the relationship between cycling and public health [de Carvalho 2012]. The second review (n=5 articles) assessed the benefits of replacing car trips with alternative forms of transportation [Xia 2013].
Outcome: traffic accidents
- Child and adolescent cyclists are the main victims of traffic accidents involving bicycles [de Carvalho 2012]
- Head injuries have the greatest impact on mortality in bicycle-related traumas [de Carvalho 2012]
- The use of helmets has important protective implications for cyclists [de Carvalho 2012]
- The greater the number of cyclists, the lesser the risk of accidents and mortality from traffic accidents [de Carvalho 2012]
- In developing countries, bicycle use is associated with lower socioeconomic status; however, this method of transport invariably promotes health and reduces air pollution [de Carvalho 2012]
- Urban interventions such as the connection of routes for cycling, smaller and calmer car traffic, and short distances between homes and schools can encourage greater use of bicycles and generate better health outcomes [de Carvalho 2012]
- There is a clear inverse relationship between cycling and morbidity and mortality [Xia 2013]
- Cycling to work can reduce the risk of all-cause mortality by about 40% [Xia 2013]
- A particulate matter (PM10) value of 16 mg/m3 caused by motor vehicle exhaust led to additional sickness [Xia 2013].
- Reducing the use of cars can improve air quality in the immediate short-term [Xia 2013]
- The extent of mental and psychological health benefits attributable to alternative transport is uncertain [Xia 2013]
Strength of the Evidence
Strength of the Evidence
None of the included reviews assessed the reporting quality of the primary studies. Therefore the evidence is rated as low quality.
A framework for city governance for low carbon mobility in an urban setting [Drummond 2021]. based on systematic review evidence and semi-structured interviews concluded that strong capacity for autonomy, stakeholder participation, local leadership and coordination on climate action and mobility were enablers of low-carbon passenger mobility.
- Studies with adequate sample sizes should be conducted to evaluate the impact of public policies on the use of bicycles.
- More research should be conducted in developing countries
- Research that combines quantitative and qualitative methods can provide stronger evidence to assist policymakers with decision-making and policy implementation.
- Economic benefits related to reducing traffic congestion should be incorporated into future research.
The resource implications of converting to low-carbon mobility are moderate to high.
- Interreg Baltic Sea Region 2021-2027. “Low-carbon mobility solutions to green our future.” 03 Aug 2021.
- Wolkinger 2018. “Evaluating Health Co-Benefits of Climate Change Mitigation in Urban Mobility.” International journal of environmental research and public health vol. 15,5 880. 28 Apr. 2018, doi:10.3390/ijerph15050880.
- Haines 2012. “Health benefits of a low carbon economy.” Public health vol. 126 Suppl 1 (2012): S33-S39. doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2012.05.020.
- Drummond 2021. “Assessing City Governance for Low-Carbon Mobility in London.” Sustainability 13(5); 2021. 2480; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052480.
Reference to Reviews
Reference to Reviews
de Carvalho 2012. “Pedalando em busca de alternativas saudáveis e sustentáveis” [Cycling to achieve healthy and sustainable alternatives]. Ciencia & saude coletiva vol. 17,6 (2012): 1617-28. doi:10.1590/s1413-81232012000600024
Xia 2013. “Cobenefits of replacing car trips with alternative transportation: a review of evidence and methodological issues.” Journal of environmental and public health vol. 2013 (2013): 797312. doi:10.1155/2013/797312