Transforming Our Cities: Best Practices Towards Clean Air and Active Transportation

  • Andrew Glazener
  • Haneen KhreisEmail author
Air Pollution and Health (S Adar and B Hoffmann, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Air Pollution and Health


Purpose of Review

By 2050, 70% of the global population will live in urban areas, exposing a greater number of people to specific city-related health risks that will only be exacerbated by climate change. Two prominent health risks are poor air quality and physical inactivity. We aim to review the literature and state the best practices for clean air and active transportation in urban areas.

Recent Findings

Cities have been targeting reductions in air pollution and physical inactivity to improve population health. Oslo, Paris, and Madrid plan on banning cars from their city centers to mitigate climate change, reduce vehicle emissions, and increase walking and cycling. Urban streets are being redesigned to accommodate and integrate various modes of transportation to ensure individuals can become actively mobile and healthy. Investments in pedestrian, cycling, and public transport infrastructure and services can both improve air quality and support active transportation. Emerging technologies like electric and autonomous vehicles are being developed and may reduce air pollution but have limited impact on physical activity. Green spaces too can mitigate air pollution and encourage physical activity.


Clean air and active transportation overlap considerably as they are both functions of mobility. The best practices of clean air and active transportation have produced impressive results, which are improved when enacted simultaneously in integrated policy packages. Further research is needed in middle- and low-income countries, using measurements from real-world interventions, tracing air pollution back to the sources responsible, and holistically addressing the entire spectrum of exposures and health outcomes related to transportation.


Cities Air pollution Active transportation Clean air Physical activity Best practices Public health 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors 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

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Center for Advancing Research in Transportation, Emissions, Energy, and Health (CARTEEH)Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI)College StationUSA
  2. 2.Langford College of ArchitectureTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  3. 3.ISGlobal, Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL)BarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)BarcelonaSpain
  5. 5.CIBER Epidemiologia y Salud Publica (CIBERESP)MadridSpain

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