Background and aims of the work

The transportation sector represents a significant contributor to greenhouse gases emitted in Europe. The introduction of more efficient cars and reducing vehicular travel are essential components of climate change mitigation policies across the continent. Shifting the population towards active modes of transportation (e.g. cycling, walking) represents a particularly promising strategy with a high potential of public health co-benefits. Such change may result in a sustained increase in physical activity in the population – a major requirement to abate the obesity epidemic.

Other potential benefits include improvements in environmental quality indicators such as ambient air pollution and noise, as well as in the social environment (social capital) and quality of urban life, and related health impacts. However, depending on local conditions and policies, these strategies may also result in adverse health effects as inhalation of air pollutants may increase among those physically active along traffic arteries and traffic accident rates may increase. Currently there is no holistic framework and related tools for policy makers to evaluate these inputs and expected health impacts.

The purpose of the TAPAS research programme (from the 1st of March 2009 until the 28th of February 2013) is to help decision makers design urban policies that address climate change and also promote other health-related outcomes. In particular, we are interested in assessing conditions and policies that hinder or encourage active travel, and resulting health impacts. We will develop a tool box for policy makers to calculate and demonstrate the potential net health benefits of their policies, which they can use to encourage change. A quantitative assessment of impacts of active travel policies will be developed for six case study cities: Barcelona, Basel, Copenhagen, Paris, Prague, and Warsaw. We will collect existing data and take additional measurements to assess determinants of active travel and potential co-benefits and co-risks of modal shifts from motorized to non-motorized modes of travel.The work is expected to lead to healthy and active lifestyles by providing an evidence base for designing optimal policies that will encourage a change to active transportation leading to an increase in physical activity and provide other health and environmental benefits.


• Rojas-Rueda D, de Nazelle A, Andersen ZJ, Braun-Fahrländer C, Bruha J, Bruhova-Foltynova H, et al. (2016) Health Impacts of Active Transportation in Europe. PLoS ONE 11(3): e0149990. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0149990, (01 March 2016) (Link)

• 30 March 2015, “This Study Busts Your Work Out Excuse”, TIME (magazine), international website, USA. (link)

• 30 March 2015, “Smog is no excuse not to go for a run - it's still better than sitting at home”, The Telegraph (newspaper), international website, United Kingdom. (link)

• 30 March 2015, “Health Benefits Of Exercise Outweigh Effects Of Pollution, Meaning You Can Workout In The City Worry Free”, Medical Daily (e-news), international website. (link)

• “Do we need to 'make more noise' about air pollution and health in our daily environments?”, Health ISGlobal blog, 02 April 2014, Spanish website, Spain. (link)

• Martina S Ragettli, Harish C Phuleria, Ming-Yi Tsai, Christian Schindler, Audrey de Nazelle, Regina E Ducret-Stich, Alex Ineichen, Laura Perez, Charlotte Braun-Fahrländer, Nicole Probst-Hensch and Nino Künzli. The relevance of commuter and work/school exposure in an epidemiological study on traffic-related air pollution. Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology, (10 December 2014) (Link)


• Ragettli MS, Tsai MY , Braun-Fahrländer C, de Nazelle A, Schindler C , Ineichen A , Ducret-Stich RE, Laura Perez , Probst-Hensch N , Künzli N , Phuleria HC. Simulation of Population-Based Commuter Exposure to NO2 Using Different Air Pollution Models. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2014, 11(5), 5049-5068; doi:10.3390/ijerph110505049 (Link)

• kubesch n, de nazelle a, guerra s, westerdahl d, martinez d, bouso l, carrasco-turigas g, hoffmann b, nieuwenhuijsen m. arterial blood pressure responses to short-term exposure to low and high traffic-related air pollution with and without moderate physical activity. eur j prev cardiol. 2014 oct 17; (Link)

• Ragettli M. S., Corradi E., Braun-Fahrländer C., Schindler C., de Nazelle A., Jerrett M., Ducret R. E., Künzli N., Phuleria H. C., 2013. Commute exposure to ultrafine particles in different urban locations, transportation modes and routes. Atmospheric Environment 77, 376-384 (Link)

• Tainio M., Olkowicz D., Teresiński G., de Nazelle A., Nieuwenhuijsen M.J. (2014). Severity of injuries in different modes of transport, expressed with disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). BMC Public Health 14: 765 (Link)

• Praznoczy, C. Modes de déplacement actifs : quels bénéfices pour la santé, quels bénéfices pour la société ? 3èmes rencontres du développement durable de Chambéry Métropole. 16 mars 2013.

• Rojas-Rueda D, “Transport and Health”, 'Environmental Sciences sessions’, University of Barcelona. March 14, 2013.

• Martina S. Ragettli, Elisabetta Corradi, Charlotte Braun-Fahrländer, Christian Schindler, Audrey de Nazelle, Michael Jerrett, Regina E. Ducret, Nino Künzli, Harish C. Phuleria: 'Commuter exposure to ultrafine particles in different urban locations, transportation modes and routes in the city of Basel, Switzerland'. CONCAWE Young Researcher Award 2013, Feb 25-26 2013, Brussels.

• Audrey de Nazelle: 'Research on active travel for better environmental quality and health'; Air Pollution Research in London (APRIL) meeting, London City Hall, UK. February 14, 2013.

• Audrey de Nazelle: 'Active travel policies for better environmental quality and health'; Centre for Environmental Policy research seminar, Imperial College London, UK. January, 2013.

• Nazelle, A, Seto, E, Donaire-Gonzalez, D, Mendez, M, Matamala, J, N, Nieuwenhuijsen, M, Jerrett, M: Improving estimates of air pollution exposure through ubiquitous sensing technologies. Environmental Pollution 176 p. 92-99, December 26th 2012 (Link)

• Rojas-Rueda, D, Cole-Hunter, T, Nieuwenhuijsen, M. Bicycle helmet law in urban areas. Is it good for public health? Gaceta Sanitaria, In Press, October 16th, 2012. (Link)

• Rojas-Rueda, D, de Nazelle, A, Teixidóe, O, Nieuwenhuijsen, M. Replacing car trips by increasing bike and public transport in the greater Barcelona metropolitan area: A health impact assessment study. Environment International 49, p. 100-109, November 15th, 2012. (Link)

• Praznoczy, Corinne. Les bénéfices et les risques de la pratique du vélo Évaluation en Île-de-France. Observatoire régional de santé d'Île-de-France, September 2012. (Link)