10: Focus on Life!

Transport governance must make safety and quality of life the top priority. Reform all council transport departments, the Department of Transport and Transport for London into Cycling, Walking and Transport Departments with formal pedestrian and cyclist representation.

Transport departments at all levels of government are failing the communities they serve and systematically ignore their impacts on society and the environment. They have failed to deliver the benefits for communities, health and the environment which could come from the public space they control. They repeatedly produce designs which exclude pedestrians and cyclists.

Lack of physical activity poses an enormous costs to society and kills an estimated 36,815 people in England. It also results in 12,061 emergency hospital admissions for coronary heart disease; 6,735 cases of breast cancer; 4,719 cases of colorectal cancer and 294,730 people living with diabetes [1]. The cost of failing to deal with inactivity among young people has been estimated at £53 billion [2].

The parliamentary commission which believes the UK “faces an epidemic of physical inactivity” identifies transport as their primary target for bringing physical activity back in to people’s everyday lives [3]. Road which are safe for cycling and walking are known to be key to boosting physical activity [4] and improving health [5]. However surgeons believe their success at saving lives is masking the failure of transport departments to make the roads safer & a lack of focus on preventing collisions [6].

We cannot continue with a system which designs healthy activity out of people’s every day lives and leaves large swathes of the population suffering health limiting inactivity. We need to ensure that healthy activities are available for all, especially vulnerable groups, in order to deliver benefits where they are most needed and create a healthier society.

We urgently need a change in the way our roads are managed in order to capitalise on the health, well-being, environmental, safety, and economic benefits which are currently being missed.
[1] http://www.swpho.nhs.uk/resource/view.aspx?RID=100113

[2] http://www.cebr.com/reports/the-inactivity-time-bomb/

[3] http://activitycommission.com/report-tackling-physical-inactivity-a-coordinated-approach/

[4] http://www.rospa.com/news/releases/detail/?id=1288

[5] http://road.cc/content/news/116596-cycling-revolution-could-save-10000-lives-year-western-capitals-alone-study

[6] http://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/london-hospital-that-saved-668-cyclists-do-more-to-prevent-crashes-9112123.html

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