Insall & Coe director Philip Insall has played a valuable role in European policy, contributing to understanding of transport and health at European Commission level and creating policy initiatives around active travel.
Philip has been active since 2007 with Polis, the network of European cities and regions working together to develop innovative technologies and policies for local transport.
Philip worked with the Polis secretariat to set up a work programme on transport and health, bringing in expert contacts from the WHO, academic institutions and other bodies. Polis has now published a clear and succinct policy call on European institutions and other European actors to “take action, to ensure that the multiple benefits of active travel are made central to all relevant European policies and programmes”, and is driving progress on this very important policy area.
EU transport and health investment
As a result of this work, the European Commission in 2013 funded the first major transport and health R&D project, PASTA. PASTA will be the first major step in showing how “promoting active mobility (i.e. walking and cycling) can lead to a healthier, more physically active population - saving money and improving lives”.
EuroVelo, the European cycle route network, grew from work by a group of cycle experts from across Europe, in the mid-1990s. Working with colleagues from the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) and De Frie Fugle in Denmark, Insall & Coe director Philip Insall secured launch funding for the project and co-directed its early years.
EuroVelo has now grown to include 14 international cycle routes, a detailed programme of technical standards and route enhancement, and a successful record of drawing tens of millions of Euro into route projects. But that is only part of the story: now managed by an expert team at the ECF offices in Brussels, EuroVelo has become an important lever for the introduction of cycling into EU transport policy. A study into the economic potential of EuroVelo tourism, for the European Parliament in 2012, estimated an annual return of €7bn.
Trans-European Transport Networks and health
Above all, the study recommended that EuroVelo, and cycling, should be inducted into the multi-billion Euro Trans-European Transport Network programme. This would be of huge importance for cycling, climate, the environment and health, and of course economically.