Prioritising Health in Mobility Planning: Assessing Health and co-benefits in European Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans

Dena Kasraian, Hannah E. Murdock, Ahmadreza Faghigh-Imani, Yurong Yu, Audrey de Nazelle, Dominic Stead, Sonja Kahlmeier

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Transport can influence health both positively and negatively through various detrimental and beneficial pathways. Transport policies that promote health offer major environmental and economic co-benefits and are critical for achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. To date, few studies have empirically examined the degree to which health goals and outcomes have been incorporated into urban mobility plans. This work assesses how much health is addressed in current Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs), including the extent to which: i) health and its various aspects like health equity are highlighted, ii) transport pathways to health and their associated health outcomes are made explicit, and iii) health is operationalised into targets and KPIs and the health-rationale of various actions and measures is elaborated. A three-step method is used: i) developing a health dictionary and a policy analysis checklist, ii) conducting a quantitative text analysis on a dataset of 230 SUMPs, and iii) performing a detailed qualitative analysis of a purposive sample of 13 SUMPs across Europe. The findings show that while health is often touched upon, and its prominence seems to be increasing, SUMPs miss out on the opportunity to embrace mobility as a driver of health promotion. The link between transport and equity, and social and mental wellbeing is not frequently discussed. Detailed targets and key performance indicators (KPIs) for several health pathways are scarce or missing, as are the health rationale and health outcomes for proposed measures. Overwhelmingly SUMPs’ health aspirations are concerned with minimising detrimental impacts of transport on health, primarily from traffic injuries and to a lesser extent from air pollution. Health related concepts such as accessibility and active travel feature prominently but are not seen as an opportunity to enhance health. It is recommended to highlight the role of transport policy not only in reducing adverse health effects, but also as an opportunity for health enhancement.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherEuropean Public Health Alliance (EPHA)
Number of pages60
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2023
MoE publication typeD4 Published development or research report or study


  • Health
  • Sustainable urban mobility plans
  • Europe
  • Equity
  • Health pathways


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