Intended for healthcare professionals

Editorials Christmas 2019: Chasing Cars

Fewer cars, healthier cities

BMJ 2019; 367 doi: (Published 18 December 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;367:l6605

Linked Research

Physical activity and weight following car ownership in Beijing, China

  1. Mark Stevenson, professor of Urban Transport and Public Health
  1. Transport, Health and Urban Design Research Lab, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC 3010, Australia
  1. Correspondence to: M Stevenson mark.stevenson{at}

Why winning a car lottery in Beijing isn’t such good news

Globally, substantial change in population demographics is afoot with 65% of the world’s population estimated to live in cities by 2050.1 This unprecedented urbanisation will place considerable strain on city infrastructure including water and energy utilities, schools, hospitals, and transport systems, thereby reducing economic productivity.2 The exponential growth of our cities—referred to as the “urban age,”3 could reduce a city’s resilience, jeopardise future levels of population health,4 and compromise residents’ quality of life.5

The urban age brings a level of uncertainty surrounding the structure and design of future transport systems. It also raises uncertainty about the health implications of new, automated or hybrid systems, and how best to operate these systems safely. What we do know is that private use of motor vehicles is unlikely to remain the predominant feature of road transport.

The health …

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