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Climate 2017, 5(3), 65; doi:10.3390/cli5030065

Assessing the Value of Systematic Cycling in a Polluted Urban Environment

Department of Electronics, Information and Bioengineering (DEIB), Politecnico di Milano, 20133 Milan, Italy
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Academic Editors: Sotiris Vardoulakis, Jennifer Salmond and Clive Sabel
Received: 26 July 2017 / Revised: 17 August 2017 / Accepted: 18 August 2017 / Published: 24 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Climate, Air Pollution, and Public Health)
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Abstract

The positive health effects of systematic cycling are weighted against the negative effects due to higher pollutant inhalation in the actual case of the city of Milan in northern Italy. The paper first evaluates the actual use of bikes in the city, and then considers why and how much such an active mobility style can be expanded. Two models are used to compare the outcome of cycling on the specific population sample with the equivalent path travelled by car. The first model computes the long term effects of the physical activity, and the second evaluates the exacerbation of some relevant diseases due to the exposure to high levels of pollutants, in the case at hand, mainly particulate matter with diameter smaller than 10 μm (PM10). According to these two models, the overall balance for public health is always in favour of systematic biking. Even the current level of biking, low in comparison to other European cities, allows a considerable economic advantage on the order of tens of millions euros per year. This may increase to hundreds of millions if the biking level of more bike-friendly cities is reached. Despite being much less relevant from the economic viewpoint, the study also estimates the reduction of pollution and greenhouse gas emissions corresponding to the assumed biking levels. View Full-Text
Keywords: active mobility; HEAT for cycling; inhalation; health effects; economy of cycling active mobility; HEAT for cycling; inhalation; health effects; economy of cycling
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Guariso, G.; Malvestiti, G. Assessing the Value of Systematic Cycling in a Polluted Urban Environment. Climate 2017, 5, 65.

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