Research Project

Review of Transport, Environment and Health Issues and Policies in Mega-Cities in Emerging Economies

Dinesh Mohan and Geetam Tiwari

Project Details

Building national resources, developing scenarios and promoting multi-stakeholder debate around the environment, health and other implications of transportation policy options.

Problem statement:

Current transportation policies in megacities worldwide lead to major threats to health; through traffic injuries, air pollution, noise, and reduction in physical activities, adverse impact on urban quality of life and by contributing to climate change.

Large city municipalities and local government institutions have much of the responsibility for the transport and land use policy decisions that will determine their environment and health impacts. They are also the stage for stakeholders’ negotiation about various policy options, and where people’s perceptions of their risks and benefits may play an important role. A large proportion of the health impacts of transport is due to exposures in turban areas. There is also a lack of understanding of the traffic environments in emerging economies, where high levels of walking and cycling and use of public transport coexist with high rates of pollution and injuries. There is a need for adequate scientific knowledge and for bringing together experiences in emerging economy cities, in order to develop adequate response. The appropriate communication of findings from these impact assessments will facilitate a debate between stakeholders about the costs and benefits of different transport policy options. It is expected that these concerted initiatives would lead to the adoption of transport policies that optimize health gain, within a context of other societal values and priorities.


We propose to develop a project aimed at promoting environmental health gain through transportation policies in five large cities in different continents, over a period of 3 years. This will be done in collaboration with and involving researchers and policy makers in each of the selected cities. The project will be led by WHO, in cooperation with UNEP and HABITAT, and facilitated by a group of international experts with relevant professional experience. This development will build on the experience gained in the programme on transport environment and health of the European Region of WHO, and on international work on sustainable transport.

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