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NYMTC Brown Bag Seminar: Promoting Safe Walking and Cycling to Improve Public Health: Lessons from Europe

12:33 AM EDT on March 17, 2007

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Council presents ...

Promoting Walking and Cycling to Improve Public Health: Lessons from Europe

Remarks by Dr. John Pucher, Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University

Prof. Pucher will examine a range of public health impacts of our urban transport systems. He argues that the current car-dependence of American cities is responsible for enormous environmental harm, social isolation, lack of physical activity, and traffic dangers. To overcome these negative impacts, it is crucial to improve the convenience, safety, and attractiveness of walking and cycling. Many cities in Europe have been successful at greatly improving conditions for walking and cycling, while integrating them fully with high-quality public transit systems. That has provided a truly feasible alternative to the private car and levels of walking and cycling many times higher in Europe than in the USA. Pucher discusses and illustrates the many specific policies and programs used in Europe and proposes their widespread adoption in American cities. Especially given the worsening obesity epidemic in the USA, walking and cycling for daily travel in our cities would be ideal for increasing physical activity while at the same time reducing Greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, noise, energy use, roadway congestion, and traffic dangers. Walking and cycling are also keys to the sustainability and livability of our cities.

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