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A 40% reduction of car trips can avoid 250 cases of diseases each year in Barcelona

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

A 40% reduction of car trips can avoid 250 cases of diseases each year in Barcelona

A 40% reduction in long-duration car trips (6 km) substituted by public transport and cycling trips resulted in annual reductions of 127 cases of diabetes, 45 of cardiovascular diseases, 30 of dementia, 16 minor injuries, 0.14 major injuries, 11 of breast cancer and 3 of colon-cancer, amounting to a total reduction of 302 Disability Adjusted Life Years per year in travelers. Besides this, the reduction in PM2.5 exposure in the general population resulted in annual reductions of 7 cases of low birth weight, 6 of preterm birth, 1 of cardiovascular disease and 1 of lower respiratory tract infection.

These are the results of a study, published in the journal Preventive Medicine, which objective was quantify the health impacts on morbidity of reduced car trips and increased public transport and cycling trips in Barcelona metropolitan area. The author David Rojas, CREAL researcher, center of Alliance ISGlobal, says that “the results show that transport policies to reduce car trips could produce important health benefits in terms of reduced morbidity, particularly for those who take up active transportation”.

To reach these results, Rojas studied the morbidity outcomes related to replacing car trips in Barcelona metropolitan area (3,231,458 inhabitants). Through 8 different transport scenarios, the number of cases of disease or injuries related to physical activity, particulate matter air pollution <2.5μm (PM2.5) and traffic incidents in travelers was estimated. They also estimate PM2.5 exposure and cases of disease in the general population.


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