How transport and health are connected

The Mayor's Transport Strategy looks at the all the ways that our transport system affects people's health. It uses the Healthy Streets Approach to embed active travel in London.

Transport is also important in addressing health inequalities in London, as set out in the Mayor's Health Inequalities Strategy and the Progress report 2022.

Active travel and physical activity

Adults are advised to do 20 minutes of physical activity a day to stay healthy. Active travel is the most accessible way to do this - not just by walking and cycling, but also by taking journeys on public transport, since these will usually include periods of walking.

The Mayor's Transport Strategy target is that by 2041 all Londoners will be doing the 20 minutes of active travel a day. Active travel has huge benefits for health and also benefits in terms of moving away from car travel to more active, efficient and sustainable modes. Find out more about how we're encouraging cycling and walking in London.

Air quality

Air quality has improved significantly in London in recent years. Programmes we've implemented such as the Low Emission Zone and Ultra Low Emission Zone help to clean the air.

Despite this, air pollution is still the biggest environmental risk to the health of Londoners - and road transport is a major contributor to critical pollutants. We need to continue to find ways to reduce traffic on our roads and help people to choose active, sustainable and efficient ways to travel.

We work with the Greater London Authority (GLA) and London boroughs to reduce air pollution. Find out more about the health burden of air pollution in London on the GLA website.

Vision Zero for road danger

Every year in London people are injured or even killed by collisions on the road. We want to stop this happening. The Mayor's Transport Strategy is that by 2041 no one will be killed or seriously injured on London's roads. Find out more about our Vision Zero for London.

Noise

Noise pollution in London can stop people sleeping, make them stressed and anxious and make it harder to concentrate at work or school. Noise also makes our streets less pleasant for walking and cycling. We want more people to walk and cycle, and to use quieter cars at lower speeds.

Find out more about how we are reducing noise and vibration from transport in London.

Access to services and community support

Londoners use the transport system - from walking on the streets, using buses and the Tube to driving on the roads - to get to work, school, shops, and healthcare, as well as to see family and friends and get out and about for fun. We need all these things for a healthy, happy life.

Climate change

Climate change presents a direct threat to Londoners' health in the form of weather events such as heat, cold, storms and flooding, as well as an indirect threat from the disruption that these events could cause to health and social care services. The Mayor has set out his aspiration for a net zero carbon London by 2030.

A quarter of London's carbon emissions come from road transport. We have made progress in reducing carbon emissions from the transport system but there is more to be done, including by reducing traffic on London's roads.

We encourage people to walk, cycle and use public transport wherever possible and we take steps to ensure the transport network is resilient to extreme weather events. Find out more about our sustainability policies and our Climate Change Adaptation Plan.

Transport for health and social care

The London healthcare sector accounts for around one million trips daily. We work with the NHS and other health and social care organisations in London to help them bring the health, wellbeing and air quality benefits of active and sustainable travel to staff, patients and visitors. We also offer tools to support:

The GLA has put together tips to help practitioners support patients to take up active travel in the Social prescribing toolkit (PDF 1.3MB).

We have case studies that show how the NHS can support patients, staff and visitors to switch to more active and sustainable travel options, as well as other actions they can take to help reduce carbon emissions and improve London's air quality.

The NHS and other organisations that need support with travel planning can use our freely available WebCAT planning tool. The tool uses the same analysis tools that were previously provided by HSTAT.

Get more information and guidance by emailing WebCAT@tfl.gov.uk.

Active Mode Appraisal Tool (T-AMAT)

The Active Mode Appraisal Toolkit (AMAT) is a spreadsheet-based tool for assessing the overall benefits and costs of proposed walking and cycling interventions, ranging from capital investments to behaviour change programmes.

The tool is based on the Department for Transport's (DfT's) TAG Unit A5-1.

Worksheets to help make transport business case assessments are on TAG: social and distributional impacts worksheets.