About the PASTA project

The urban challenge:

These days we Europeans are moving less, and not surprisingly it comes at a great cost to our health and the public purse. But building in those 20 minutes of recommended physical activity every day isn’t always easy.* One way to change this would be to make physical activity part of our daily routine. This is where the PASTA project comes in.

The EU-funded project PASTA - Physical Activity Through Sustainable Transport Approaches - aims to connect transport and health by promoting active mobility in cities (i.e. walking and cycling) including in combination with public transport use) as an innovative way of integrating physical activity into our everyday lives.


The PASTA approach:

Bringing together a multi-disciplinary consortium of leading experts in policy, research and practice from across Europe, the project will:   

1. Indicator set 

2. Workshops & interviews 

3. Survey in seven EU cities

A glossary of terms and an indicator set to have a common way to evaluate active mobility initiatives (like walking & cycling) which promote increased physical activity in cities and towns.  
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A series of workshops and interviews carried out in the seven case study cities to find out which initiatives worked for them and how health and transport departments work together. 
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A survey in seven case study cities with 14,000 participants in total designed to identify innovative measures & systematic initiatives used to promote active mobility, as well as traffic safety interventions. 
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The PASTA outcome and benefits for cities:

To help those planning our towns and cities to create a healthier, more physically active population - saving money and more importantly improving peoples' quality of life - the PASTA project will develop:

The project will provide an updated version of the World Health Organization's Health Impact Assessment (HIA) tool designed to help urban planners, transport and health practitioners make the case for new investment in active mobility

Good practice examples from cities across Europe in the promotion of active mobility as part of transport infrastructure will be collected over the duration of the project. These will be compiled into a PASTA compendium and made available online.  

These will be made available online to access and download for free

*This is a rough daily breakdown based on the World Health Organization recommendations for adults of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week.

What is Physical Activity?

The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Physical activity as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure – including activities undertaken while working, playing, carrying out household chores, travelling, and engaging in recreational pursuits.

It recommends:

  • for children/adolescents: 60 mins of moderate to vigorous intensity per day;
  • for adults (18+): 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week.

Source: WHO

Reasons for physical inactivity

The current levels of physical inactivity are partly due to insufficient participation in physical activity during leisure time and an increase in sedentary behaviour during occupational and domestic activities. Likewise, an increase in the use of "passive" modes of transport has also been associated with declining physical activity levels.

Population-based, multi-sectoral, multi-disciplinary, and culturally relevant policies need to be implemented to increase physical activity levels globally.

Source: WHO

5 facts & stats about Physical Activity

1.    Physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for death worldwide.
2.    Yet, only one third of the European population is estimated to meet the minimum recommended levels of PA
3.    Half of all trips shorter than five kilometres are undertaken by car.
4.    Active commuting is associated with 20 percent reduced risk of mortality for all causes.
5.    30 minutes of daily cycling or walking is associated with reduced mortality in the range of 30 percent.

Source: WHO