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Why Active Mobility is a Priority to Decarbonize Transport - Autonomy

Published on March 13, 2023

According to Over 400 organisations, Active Mobility Must Be A Priority to Decarbonize Transport Active travel remains low priority and under-funded in the transport and mobility mix

Active travel is underfunded and it remains a low priority in the transport and mobility mix. There has been some progress in recent years, thanks to increasing emphasis on investing in infrastructure. Of note, is the regional bicycle plan in the Grand Est region. These success stories are mostly the exception when it comes to the prioritisation of active mobility and not the norm. Several governments have not been able or are simply unwilling to capture the opportunities that exist in active mobility to decarbonize and this is most evident at the discussions of COP27.

Overall, the discussions at COP27 were a mixture of high & lows for all of us. Of particular note is the EU’s commitment to compromise to keep the Paris Agreement going. However, besides the commitments of road authorities & private companies to decarbonize, there has been a lack of discussion of the alternatives, for example where was public transport in COP27?

Whereas when compared to last year’s COP26, it featured a Transport Day and a Transport Declaration, which was amended to highlight the importance of active mobility following intense pressure from advocacy groups. COP27 paid far less attention to transport nevermind the greater role that walking and cycling must play in decarbonising transport. Advocacy groups & organisations spent the time getting organised from COP26 to COP27 in their collective goal to further raise awareness & unlock the climate potential for walking & cycling through national transport, health and environmental strategies.

“We are delighted that over 400 organisations from across the globe joined our call to action by signing this letter. This underscores how much support there is for prioritising and investing more in walking and cycling as one of the best solutions we have to achieve climate goals, improve public health and deliver a range of other societal benefits.” – Isabella Burczak, UCI

As a result, over 400 organisations from 73 countries which include those who have worked on road safety, clean air, public health, public transport, & active mobility advocacy groups have signed the PATH (Partnership for Active Travel and Health) open letter. This open letter calls on national governments and city leaders to invest more into walking and cycling to achieve climate goals and improve people’s lives. This letter was presented to representatives of governments from Egypt, Ethiopia during the conferences. The ambitions of the letter were also shared and promoted by PATH members at COP27 in a range of meetings, talks and official UNFCCC side events.

“Enabling more people to walk and cycle safely is essential to reducing transport’s 27% share of carbon emissions and achieving the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, yet walking and cycling continue to lack priority in the transport and mobility mix and the wider climate agenda,” said Sheila Watson, Deputy Director of the FIA Foundation . “Our open letter on the occasion of COP27 was published to draw attention to this and to call for greater action on the part of governments and city leaders.” About PATH – Partnership for Active Travel and Health

PATH is a new global coalition calling on governments and cities to make a real commitment to walking and cycling as a key solution to the climate, health and equity challenges we face across the globe.

Lucas Harms, Dutch Cycling Embassy : “PATH and the wider walking and cycling community and hundreds of supporting organisations have made their voices heard at COP27. Going forward, we will continue to call for national and city governments to commit to prioritising and investing in walking and cycling – including strategies, plans, funding and concrete actions for infrastructure, campaigns, land use planning, integration with public transport, and capacity building.“

The partners at PATH seek to unlock walking and cycling’s potential to accelerate the achievement of climate goals and other benefits, through greater prioritisation and investment, including through national transport, health and environment strategies and other policy instruments. It is comprised of leading organisations in the sustainable mobility community who collaborate to promote walking and cycling and is coordinated by a core group consisting of the FIA Foundation – who are funding the coordination work – Walk21, the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) and the UN Environment Program (UNEP).

To kick off and celebrate this new global coalition between the partners involved. PATH released a new report called Make way for walking and cycling. The report goes into detail about the effectiveness of active mobility and how it can satisfy the mobility demands of 60% of all urban trips globally.

PATH partners include:


In conclusion, walking and cycling, has been largely overlooked as a priority in the transport and mobility mix as is evident at the COP27 conference. Despite some progress in investing in infrastructure for active mobility, it remains underfunded and a low priority in many governments. In response, over 400 organizations from 73 countries are pushing our governments and city leaders to invest more in walking and cycling as a solution to achieve climate goals and improve people’s lives. The PATH coalition will continue to advocate for greater action on the part of governments and city leaders to prioritize and invest in walking and cycling, including strategies, plans, funding, and concrete actions for infrastructure, campaigns, land use planning, and integration with public transport.