The WBIA has been invited to participate in a new task force of THE PEP (Transport, Health and Environment Pan-European Programme), a joint body of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations (UN), to develop “Principles of Green and Healthy Sustainable Transport”.
COVID-19 is having a substantial impact on mobility patterns around the world. Social distancing and the recent studies showing a correlation between air pollution and the severity of COVID-19-related respiratory symptoms are bringing a growing number of citizens to switch to cycling – especially in urban areas. Cities now have the possibility and the responsibility to restart in a manner that is conducive to a more efficient, green and sustainable framework.
The task force on Green and Healthy Sustainable Transport recommendations will comprise representatives of Governments, international organisations, civil society, academia and other stakeholders, exploring long-term and strategic changes for the mobility sector. The aim is to have much more than just a document: the principles produced by the task force will be proposed for political endorsement to Governments involved in the Fifth High-level Meeting on Transport, Health and Environment to be held in Vienna in 2021.
Erhard Büchel, CONEBI and WBIA president, stated: “New bike lanes are starting to appear in cities across Europe. We call on Governments to implement permanent solutions in this regard and foresee further incentive measures, for instance, subsidy schemes for bicycle and e-bike purchase, like the one that has just been introduced in Italy. Cycling should become the new normal.”
“Today, an unprecedented number of Americans are experiencing the rewards of bicycling,” added Tim Blumenthal, president of PeopleForBikes. “They’re improving their physical and mental health, and they’re saving money as they travel safely and efficiently in a world shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic. They’re helping to reduce air pollution and address climate change. Now more than ever, bicycling is a multi-faceted solution that should be prioritized by government leaders around the globe.”
The taskforce will meet virtually on a monthly basis and the work will be organised so that the first draft of the principles are discussed in November 2020. Further meetings, in the months after November 2020, will be set to finalise the principles.