Skip to main content


Pedalling ahead: linking transport, health and environment for active mobility

Pedalling ahead: linking transport, health and environment for active mobility

Marking two hundred years since the invention of the Draisine, an ancestor of the bicycle, in Mannheim, Germany, the city will host two events this month on the theme of active mobility: the International Cycling Conference and a Transport, Health and Environment Pan-European Programme (THE PEP) relay race.

The Cycling Conference "Bridging the gap between research and practice” (19-20 September 2017), organized by the German Environment Agency and the City of Mannheim in partnership with the EU-funded project Physical Activity through Sustainable Transport Approaches (PASTA) and others, will highlight the role of active mobility from the perspective of researchers and policymakers. It will focus on synergies between transport planning, health care, environmental quality, economic benefits and social issues.

The bicentenary anniversary will also be an opportunity for Mannheim to demonstrate how the city has been changing its policies towards cycling. The city’s target is for cycling to reach 25 per cent of all journeys in the city over the coming years. Participants will be invited to join a two-hour bike tour to see recently implemented measures and new infrastructure to facilitate cycling in the city.

On the third day of the Conference, THE PEP, which is jointly managed by UNECE and the WHO Regional Office for Europe, will hold a workshop (or “relay race”) on “Cycling and walking make THE Link – Transport, Health and Environment” (21 September 2017). As is custom in THE PEP relay races, the opening of the workshop will see the passing of a baton from representatives of the city of Vladivostok (Russian Federation), the venue of the previous relay race, to representatives of the city of Mannheim.

THE PEP relay race workshops form a series of national events on sustainable transport policies hosted by different cities in the UNECE region. They provide an opportunity to share knowledge across the pan-European region by passing the baton from city to city and recommending actions to policymakers.

Mannheim decided to focus the relay race on walking and cycling. Participants will be able to discuss the health, environment and economic benefits of walking and cycling, while also considering the risks due to exposure to polluted air in cities.

In addition, participants will learn about the draft Pan-European Master Plan on Cycling, presented for the first time to a wide audience. The Master Plan, which is being developed under THE PEP, will be presented for adoption at the fifth High-level Meeting on Transport, Health and Environment (Vienna, 2019). It will provide guidance to member States on how to promote cycling across the pan-European region.

For more information on THE PEP relay race workshop, please see here.