Transport Policy Measures for Climate Change as Drivers for Health in Cities

  • Haneen KhreisEmail author
  • Andrew Sudmant
  • Andy Gouldson
  • Mark Nieuwenhuijsen


Climate change is an urgent challenge that requires action at the national, regional and local levels. However, a perception that impacts on human wellbeing and the economy will only be felt in the distant future, and a belief that climate action would require reducing attention towards a host of other environmental and societal issues, stand in the way of measures being taken. With cities emerging as key actors in fighting climate change as well as other societal and environmental issues, this chapter provides a review of the ways urban climate action provides direct and more immediate benefits —in climate terms, ‘co-benefits’— to public health. We focus on the impacts of five key transport policy measures which have been established to yield significant greenhouse gas reductions and substantial economic benefits. These are: (1) compact land use planning to reduce motorised passenger travel demand, (2) passenger modal shift and improving transit efficiency, (3) electrification and passenger vehicle efficiency, (4) freight logistics and (5) freight vehicle efficiency and electrification. We show that these measures have great potential to improve public health in urban areas whilst mitigating climate change, and provide arguments that in some cases these benefits may rival, or exceed, benefits to the economy and climate from these actions. We conclude that climate change action in the transport sector represents a great opportunity for policymakers to develop transport roadmaps that jointly achieve climate change objectives and improve public health in cities.



Research for this chapter was originally conducted with support from the New Climate Economy, an international initiative that examines the risks and opportunities of addressing climate change. Special thanks are extended to Sarah Colenbrander for her help in reviewing this analysis.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Haneen Khreis
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    Email author
  • Andrew Sudmant
    • 6
  • Andy Gouldson
    • 6
  • Mark Nieuwenhuijsen
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI)College StationUSA
  2. 2.ISGlobal, Centre for Research in Environmental Epidemiology (CREAL)BarcelonaSpain
  3. 3.Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)BarcelonaSpain
  4. 4.CIBER Epidemiologia y Salud Publica (CIBERESP)MadridSpain
  5. 5.Institute for Transport StudiesUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK
  6. 6.ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy, Priestley International Centre for ClimateUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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