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Global Outlook on Walking and Cycling - Policies & realities from around the world

Walking and cycling are more than low-carbon modes of transport that enhance urban quality and facilitate social cohesion; they are cheap, flexible, personal modes without which the majority of people in low- and middle-income countries are unable to participate in the economy and community, or access education, health-care and other urban services.

At the same time, many low- and middle-income countries are undergoing rapid, debilitating and unconstrained urbanisation, and local and national authorities are buckling under severe pressure to plan, guide development, provide services, and manage their cities. One consequence is that cities and rural areas exhibit poor accessibility and mobility, and the needs of people remain unmet.

Better walking and cycling environments can change this. Access and mobility are key not only to sustainable mobility but to sustainable development. NMT, primarily walking and cycling, is the most sustainable form of movement, whether as a local access or an arterial or mobility mode. Yet NMT only often recieves marginal recognition in many low- and middle-income countries – whether in policy and legislation, or in budget, resource and space allocation.

There is an urgent need to improve this environment and significantly reduce the risks of injury or death, and facilitate a shift to lower carbon modes. Thus the purpose of this report has been to document the inclusion of NMT in national or city policies in a sample of low- and middle-income countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America, which we achieved through a survey, and detailed policy content analysis. 

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United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment)
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21 October 2016

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