Policies to Promote Active Travel: Evidence from Reviews of the Literature
Purpose of review
While many levels of government recognize that walking and cycling (active travel) are critical to healthy cities, a continued challenge is to identify and prioritize strategies that will increase walking and cycling for transportation. We review evidence on policies that can increase active travel.
The reviews included here conclude that policies related to active travel may operate at various levels of the socio-ecological framework, including society, cities, routes or individuals. The provision of convenient, safe and connected walking and cycling infrastructure is at the core of promoting active travel, but policies may work best when implemented in comprehensive packages.
There is strong evidence that active travel can result in substantial health benefits. However, there remains considerable uncertainty about the exact effects of specific policies on walking or cycling rates or safety. Further research is needed to quantify the impact of specific policies or packages of policies, especially across different settings or for different population segments.
KeywordsActive travel Policy Bicycle Walking Bicycling
This manuscript is based on a research brief prepared by the authors for Active Living Research, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. We would like to acknowledge Prabhu Ponkshe, Jim Sallis, David R. Bassett, Jr., Sean Co, Ruth L. Steiner and other Robert Wood Johnson staff for their valuable feedback and contributions as part of the research brief. We also acknowledge Kyle Lukacs for his help collecting and organizing the literature and thank the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech for financially supporting Lukacs’ work. We also acknowledge Moreno Zanotto for assistance with manuscript preparation.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Meghan Winters, Thomas Götschi and Ralph Buehler declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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