Policies to Promote Active Travel: Evidence from Reviews of the Literature

  • Built Environment and Health (MJ Nieuwenhuijsen and AJ de Nazelle, Section Editors)
  • Published: 10 July 2017
  • Volume 4 , pages 278–285, ( 2017 )

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active travel guidelines

  • Meghan Winters 1 ,
  • Ralph Buehler 2 &
  • Thomas Götschi 3  

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Purpose of review

While many levels of government recognize that walking and cycling (active travel) are critical to healthy cities, a continued challenge is to identify and prioritize strategies that will increase walking and cycling for transportation. We review evidence on policies that can increase active travel.

Recent findings

The reviews included here conclude that policies related to active travel may operate at various levels of the socio-ecological framework, including society, cities, routes or individuals. The provision of convenient, safe and connected walking and cycling infrastructure is at the core of promoting active travel, but policies may work best when implemented in comprehensive packages.

There is strong evidence that active travel can result in substantial health benefits. However, there remains considerable uncertainty about the exact effects of specific policies on walking or cycling rates or safety. Further research is needed to quantify the impact of specific policies or packages of policies, especially across different settings or for different population segments.

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Acknowledgments

This manuscript is based on a research brief prepared by the authors for Active Living Research, with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. We would like to acknowledge Prabhu Ponkshe, Jim Sallis, David R. Bassett, Jr., Sean Co, Ruth L. Steiner and other Robert Wood Johnson staff for their valuable feedback and contributions as part of the research brief. We also acknowledge Kyle Lukacs for his help collecting and organizing the literature and thank the Metropolitan Institute at Virginia Tech for financially supporting Lukacs’ work. We also acknowledge Moreno Zanotto for assistance with manuscript preparation.

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Meghan Winters

School of Public and International Affairs, Virginia Tech, 1021 Prince Street, Suite 200, Alexandria, VA, 22301, USA

Ralph Buehler

Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute, University of Zurich, Hirschengraben 84, CH-8001, Zurich, Switzerland

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Winters, M., Buehler, R. & Götschi, T. Policies to Promote Active Travel: Evidence from Reviews of the Literature. Curr Envir Health Rpt 4 , 278–285 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40572-017-0148-x

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Published : 10 July 2017

Issue Date : September 2017

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1007/s40572-017-0148-x

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Active Travel Studies is a peer-reviewed, open access journal publishing authoritative research on walking, cycling and other forms of active travel. In the context of a climate emergency, widespread health problems associated with inactvitity, and poor air quality caused in large part by fossil-fuel transport, this journal is relevant and timely. As well as informing the research agenda, it will provide practitioners and policymakers with access to current and robust findings on all subject relevant to active travel.

Based on high academic standards, and providing a bridge between research and practice, the journal's remit is to share knowledge, from any academic discipline, from bioscience to anthropology, that can contribute to building knowledge to support active travel and remove barriers to it. (publ. by University of Westminster Press)

Focus and Scope

We live in times of climate crisis, with illegal levels of air pollution in many cities worldwide, and what has been called an epidemic of physical inactivity. Technological change alone will not solve such problems: we also need major growth in active travel (primarily walking and cycling, but also other active and semi-active types of travel, such as scooters) to replace many shorter car trips. Active modes could even (e.g. through electric assist trikes) help make urban freight much more sustainable.

Journals within many fields cover active travel, but literature remains highly segmented and (despite high levels of policy interest) difficult for practitioners to find. Established, mainstream journals are not open access, another barrier to policy transfer and knowledge exchange. Thus, while many towns, cities, and countries seek to increase active travel, the knowledge base suffers from a lack of high-quality academic evidence that is easy to find and obtain. This reinforces practitioner reliance on often lower-quality grey literature, and a culture of relying on ad hoc case studies in policy and practice.

This journal provides a bridge between academia and practice, based on high academic standards and accessibility to practitioners. Its remit is to share knowledge from any academic discipline/s (from bioscience to anthropology) that can help build knowledge to support active travel and help remove barriers to it, such as car dependency. Within this normative orientation, it is rigorously academic and critical, for instance not shying away from analysing examples where interventions do not lead to more active travel. It goes beyond immediate policy imperatives to share knowledge that while not immediately change-oriented can contribute to a deeper understanding of, for instance, why people drive rather than walk. 

As well as publishing relevant new research, the journal commissions both commentary pieces on such research, and critical reviews of the existing literature. Reflecting the diversity of its audience, its content is varied, including written work of different lengths as well as audio-visual material

Publication Frequency

The journal is published online as a continuous volume and issue throughout the year. Articles are published as soon as they are ready to ensure that there are no unnecessary delays in making content publicly available.

Special collections of accepted submissions are welcomed welcomed and a webpage will be dedicated to each collection. The individual submissions will also be published alongside the journal’s other content.

Open Access Policy

This journal operates under Diamond Open Access, meaning there are no charges for either publication in the journal or readership of its content. The journal provides immediate open access to its content on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports the global exchange of knowledge.

Authors of published   material remain the copyright holders and grant third parties the right to use, reproduce, and share the article according to the  Creative Commons  licence agreement.

Archiving Policy

The journal’s publisher focuses on making content discoverable and accessible through indexing services. Content is also archived around the world to ensure long-term availability.

In addition, the journal is available for harvesting via  OAI-PMH .

To ensure permanency of all publications, this journal also utilises  CLOCKSS , and  LOCKSS  archiving systems.

If the journal is not indexed by your preferred service, please  contact us  or, if you prefer, make an indexing request directly with the service.

Active Travel Studies is published with the support of the University of Westminster and the Quintin Hogg Trust. 

  • Quintin Hogg Trust
  • University of Westminster

Editorial Team

Tom Cohen Active Travel Academy, University of Westminster, UK Website

Deputy Editor

Rachel Aldred

Editorial Assistant

Luz Navarro Eslava

Editorial Board

Sonja Haustein Technical University of Denmark View Profile Website    Twitter    Linkedin

Esther Anaya Boig Imperial College London, UK Website    Twitter    Github    Linkedin

Giulio Mattioli

Tim Jones Oxford Brookes University, UK View Profile Website

Ersilia Verlinghieri University of Westminster, UK

Jamie Furlong University of Westminster, UK

Author Guidelines

Submissions should be made electronically through this website. Once submitted, the author can track the submission and communicate with the editors via the online journal management system.

Please ensure that you consider the following guidelines when preparing your manuscript. Failure to do so may delay processing your submission.

Article types

  • Research articles  must describe the outcomes and application of unpublished original research. These should make a substantial contribution to knowledge and understanding in the subject matter and should be supported by relevant figures and tabulated data. Research articles should be no more than 8,000 words in length.
  • Commentaries  should reflect upon or critique a specific "happening" such as a release of a major study or other notable occurrence related to journal focus. Authors interested in submitting a commentary piece should discuss the content with the editor before submitting a manuscript. Commentary articles should be no longer than 3,000 words in length.
  • Reviews  can cover topics such as current controversies or the historical development of studies as well as issues of regional or temporal focus. Papers should critically engage with the relevant body of extant literature. Review articles should be no longer than 8,000 words in length.
  • Debates  should allow a range of views on a subject relevant to the journal’s focus to be aired in a lively manner by at least two authors taking contrasting positions and reacting to each other’s interventions, referring to the literature as appropriate. Debate articles should be no more than 5,000 words in length.
  • Interviews  will present the opinions of influential figures from the world of active travel and associated fields through the medium of interview conducted by knowledgeable researchers. Participants can write their answers to questions or can be interviewed conventionally, subject to subsequent editing to ensure the final text achieves the journal’s standards of precision and clarity. Interviews must not exceed 5,000 words in length. 
  • Viewpoints  will offer informed analysis and critical views surrounding key and emerging issues in active travel research with suggestions for future directions as well as comment on emerging trends in the literature. These may be of length 3,500 to 8000 words in length.

All word limits include referencing and citation.

For further details please follow below links:

Article types  |  Structure  |  Permissions  | Language & text  |  Data & Symbols  |  Figures & Tables  |  References

Research Integrity

Anti-plagiarism checking.

A combination of pre-screening and open access is the best possible defence against plagiarism. All articles submitted to University of Westminster Press journals are automatically screened for plagiarism by the CrossCheck system from CrossRef. This system compares incoming articles to a large database of academic content, and alerts editors to any possible issues.

Rigorous Peer Review

University of Westminster Press ensures that all research output, in both journals and books, is thoroughly peer reviewed by external reviewers, and offers the option of open peer review if required. Publications of a commentary or opinion nature may not be sent for external peer review but will include extensive editorial review and revisions. All of our journals adhere to the  COPE guidelines for best practice .

Open Licences

All University of Westminster Press content is released under open licences from  Creative Commons . We believe that only  CC BY  meets the requirements for true open access for journals, and strongly prefer  CC0  for open research data.

The journals supports the  Budapest Open Access Initiative , which states that open access  “…will accelerate research, enrich education, share the learning of the rich with the poor and the poor with the rich, make this literature as useful as it can be, and lay the foundation for uniting humanity in a common intellectual conversation and quest for knowledge.”

Active Travel Studies endorses the  Panton Principles , which state that  "for science to effectively function, and for society to reap the full benefits from scientific endeavours, it is crucial that science data be made open."

Research Data

All University of Westminster Press journals and books strongly encourage authors to make the research objects associated with their publications openly available. This includes research data, software, bioresources and methodologies. This means that peer reviewers are better able to assess the foundations of claims made, and the research community and wider public are similarly able to validate authors’ work, and are more easily able to extend and build upon it.

All journals and books can be integrated with their own repository on the  Dataverse Network  as standard, and additional integration with subject-specific repositories such as  Dryad  is implemented on request.

All University of Westminster Press content is indexed with  CrossRef  and assigned a  Digital Object Identifier (DOI) . This means that all of our references are made available so that citations can be tracked by the publishing community, and the content is added to the Cross-Check anti-plagiarism database.

All of our article metadata is openly available for harvesting by indexing services via  OAI-PMH  and the journals are registered with  Open Archives .

For more information on where this journal is indexed, please view the journal's about page.

As members of  CLOCKSS  (Controlled Lots of Copies Keep Stuff Safe) our content is regularly archived with many of the world's leading research libraries. The CLOCKSS archive ensures that University of Westminster Press content will always be made available as open access, in any eventuality.

Where relevant we automatically archive journal and book content with subject specific archives such as  PubMed Central  or  Europe PMC / PMC Bookshelf .

We fully support and encourage author self-archiving of all content (sometimes termed 'green' open access). All University of Westminster Press journals are registered with  SHERPA/RoMEO  to ensure that the licence terms and self-archiving policies of the journals are 100% clear.

The University of Westminster Press uses open, non-proprietary standards for all of its content, meaning that it can be easily transferred to archives and other publishers. All of our article XML is compliant with the  Journal Archiving Tag Suite (JATS)  schema.

We endorse and adhere to the  NISO Transfer Code of Practice , which ensures that, when a journal transfers between publishers, librarians, editors, and other publishers are informed and treated fairly.

All copyright to the published content is retained by the authors, University of Westminster Press does not retain rights to the published content and the content can be transferred away from University of Westminster Press if the editors decide to change publisher.

Journal Representatives

Principal contact - editor.

Dr Tom Cohen

Technical Support

Support Contact

Professor Rachel Aldred

For inquiries, kindly get in touch here via the  ATS contact form  

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Collection information, latest articles 44 .

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active travel guidelines

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Active Travel England

  • Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy 2 (CWIS 2)
  • Gear Change: a bold vision for cycling and walking
  • Active Travel England’s framework document

£101 million investment to boost cycling and walking nationwide

23 March 2024 — News story

Newly funded projects will provide even more people, especially in rural and deprived areas, the choice to travel by walking, wheeling or cycling.

Segregated cycle lane and footpath in Manchester.

£60 million government investment to transform the school run for 2 million children

29 September 2023 — News story

More children will have access to walk to school and cycle training programmes over the next 2 years, giving them better road skills.

School run cycle and walk programmes

Active Travel England to be consulted on all large planning applications

1 June 2023 — News story

As a statutory consultee, Active Travel England will help planning authorities implement good walking, wheeling and cycling infrastructure.

Active travel image

Millions of people to benefit from £200 million to improve walking and cycling routes

19 May 2023 — News story

Funding will ease congestion across cities, transform the school run and provide a boost to high street businesses.

Children cycling

Active travel now accounts for 20% of all minutes of activity taken by adults in England

20 April 2023 — News story

More people than ever are regularly walking or cycling rather than using the car due to increases in the cost of living.

People cycling and walking alongside each other

Alan Turing Institute partnership brings data expertise to nationwide walking and cycling schemes

31 March 2023 — News story

The collaboration will support Active Travel England and councils to offer schemes that benefit residents.

Minister Jesse Norman and Professor Mark Girolami.

Latest from Active Travel England

  • 15 May 2024
  • Personal information charter
  • 23 March 2024
  • Transparency data

See all latest documents

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Active Travel England is the government’s executive agency responsible for making walking, wheeling and cycling the preferred choice for everyone to get around in England.

ATE is an executive agency, sponsored by the Department for Transport .

Read more about what we do

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  • Active Travel England: planning application assessment toolkit

Guidance and regulation

  • 15 February 2024
  • 3 July 2023

News and communications

  • 29 September 2023

Policy papers and consultations

  • 10 March 2023
  • Policy paper
  • 27 July 2020

Transparency and freedom of information releases

Our management.

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Contact ATE

General enquiries.

[email protected]

Statutory planning enquiries

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For advice on Active Travel England’s status as a statutory consultee in the planning system.

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If You Test Positive for Covid, Can You Still Travel?

With coronavirus cases on the rise, summer travelers are once again facing difficult questions. Here’s the latest travel guidance from health experts.

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active travel guidelines

By Shannon Sims

As new coronavirus variants gain traction across the United States, summer travelers are facing a familiar and tiresome question: How will the ever-mutating virus affect travel plans?

In light of updated guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , the answers may be slightly different from those in previous years.

Here’s what to know about traveling this summer if you’re worried about — or think you might have — Covid-19.

What’s going on with Covid?

Recent C.D.C. data show that Covid infections are rising or most likely rising in more than 40 states. Hospitalization rates and deaths, while low compared with the peaks seen in previous years, are also on the rise.

The uptick is tied to a handful of variants — named KP.2, KP.3 and LB.1 — that now account for a majority of new cases .

At the same time, record numbers of people are traveling by car and plane.

I’d planned to travel, but I’m sick with Covid. What should I do?

In short: You should probably delay or cancel your trip.

If you tested positive or are experiencing Covid symptoms, which include fever, chills, fatigue, a cough, a runny nose, body aches and a headache, the C.D.C. recommends that you stay home and keep away from others.

According to its latest guidelines, the agency advises waiting until at least 24 hours after you are fever-free and your overall symptoms are improving before going back to normal activities, including travel.

What are the isolation rules?

New C.D.C. guidelines issued in March made significant changes to the recommended isolation period for people with Covid.

The agency now says that you can resume daily activities if you meet two requirements : You have been fever-free for at least 24 hours (without the use of fever-reducing medications) and your symptoms are improving overall. Previously, the agency recommended isolating for at least five days, plus a period of post-isolation precautions.

Even after your isolation period, you may still be able to spread the virus to others, which is why the C.D.C. encourages you to continue to take precautions for the next five days: Use masks, wash your hands frequently, practice physical distancing, clean your air by opening windows or purifying it, and continue testing yourself before gathering around others.

Are there any lingering testing or vaccine requirements?

Travelers no longer need to show proof of being vaccinated against Covid or take a Covid test to enter the U.S. (This applies to both U.S. citizens and noncitizens.)

The same is true in Europe and most other countries.

How can I prepare before traveling?

First, make sure you stay up-to-date with Covid vaccines .

Next, plan to bring any items that would be helpful should you become sick while traveling.

“Make sure to take a good first aid or medication kit with you,” said Vicki Sowards, the director of nursing resources for Passport Health , which provides travel medical services. Ms. Sowards recommended that your kit include medications that you usually take when you are ill, as well as Covid tests.

You may want to consider packing medications that can help alleviate the symptoms of Covid, like painkillers, cold and flu medicines, and fever reducers. Bringing along some electrolyte tablets (or powdered Gatorade) can also help if you get sick.

Ms. Sowards also suggested speaking with your physician before traveling, particularly if you’re in a vulnerable or high-risk group. Some doctors might prescribe the antiviral Paxlovid as a precautionary measure, she said, to be taken in the event of a Covid infection.

How can I stay safe while traveling?

Wearing a mask on a plane or in crowded areas is still a good idea, said Ms. Sowards. Covid is spread through airborne particles and droplets, “so protecting yourself is paramount, especially if you are immunocompromised or have chronic health conditions.”

If you do get sick, start wearing a mask and using over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen for fever or joint aches, Ms. Sowards advised.

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram and sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to get expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places to Go in 2024 .

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Should you get the updated COVID-19 vaccine? See current guidelines from CDC.

active travel guidelines

As cases of COVID-19 are on the rise and with a new variant of the disease emerging this summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is recommending updated vaccines ahead of the fall and winter virus season.

"Make a plan now for you and your family to get both updated flu and COVID vaccines this fall, ahead of the respiratory virus season," CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen said in a statement Thursday.

The CDC is tracking the growth of multiple variants of COVID-19, including the KP.3 frontrunner and the rising LB.1 , the newest variant circulating in the U.S. There was a 1.4% increase in test positivity as of June 22, according to data collected by the agency.

Here's what to know about the state of COVID-19 in the U.S., and the CDC's latest vaccine guidance.

COVID-19 cases increasing this summer: Insight into the uptick

Should you get the updated COVID-19 vaccine?

The CDC recommends for everyone ages 6 months and older, with some exceptions, receive an updated 2024-2025 COVID-19 vaccine to protect against the disease, regardless whether or not you have previously been vaccinated against the virus.

Should you get the updated flu vaccine?

The agency also recommends the updated 2024-205 flu vaccines.

Most people only need one dose of flu vaccine each season, and September and October remain the best times for most people to be vaccinated.

Can you get the COVID and flu vaccine at the same time?

The CDC says it is safe to receive both the COVID-19 and the flu vaccines at the same visit.

What are the current COVID variants?

For a two-week period starting on June 9 and ending on June 22, the CDC's Nowcast data tracker  showed the projections of COVID-19 variants, with the KP.3 variant accounting for 33.1% of positive infections, the KP.2 variant at 20.8% and the new variant LB.1 at 17.5% of infections.

The JN.1 variant accounted for only 1.6% of positive infections, according to the data.

What is the LB.1 variant?

The LB.1 variant is the newest COVID-19 variant that is circulating in the United States.

With the information that the CDC has available right now there’s no indication that the LB.1 variant poses a serious risk.

“There is currently no evidence that LB.1 causes more severe disease," CDC Spokesperson, Dave Daigle, previously told USA TODAY.

What are the current symptoms of COVID-19?

There are a wide range of symptoms that could point to a COVID-19 infection, and may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. Symptoms can include:

  • Fever or chills
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Muscle or body aches
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting

The CDC said you should seek medical attention if you have the following symptoms:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest
  • New confusion
  • Inability to wake or stay awake
  • Pale, gray or blue-colored skin, lips, or nail beds

How do COVID and flu symptoms compare?

The flu and COVID-19 share some of the same signs, but flu symptoms will come on suddenly, the CDC says. People who have the flu often feel some or all of the following symptoms:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Runny or stuffy nose

Some people may have vomiting or diarrhea, although the CDC says this is more common in children than in adults.

What is the CDC's recommended isolation period for COVID-19?

The CDC's updated respiratory virus guidance recommends that people stay home and away from others until at least 24 hours after there is no fever and their symptoms are getting better overall. This is a change from the previous guidance, which recommended a minimum isolation period of five days for COVID-19.

Instead, the CDC urges an added precaution over the next five days and using prevention strategies, including:

  • Taking steps for cleaner air
  • Enhancing hygiene practices
  • Wearing a well-fitting mask
  • Keeping distance from others
  • Getting tested for respiratory viruses

Contributing: Ahjané Forbes, USA TODAY.

Watch CBS News

Are you traveling for July Fourth? Here's how to beat the travel rush.

Updated on: June 27, 2024 / 6:15 PM EDT / AP

The Fourth of July is right around the corner, and the travel rush is already heating up.

Millions of Americans are preparing to get out of town sometime in the coming holiday week. That will likely mean busy roads, as well as packed airports and train stations.

Motor club AAA projects that some 70.9 million travelers will head 50 miles (80 kilometers) or more from their homes over a nine-day Independence Day travel period — surpassing pre-pandemic numbers for the U.S. holiday. And the Transportation Security Administration expects to screen over 32 million individuals in airports from this Thursday through July 8, up 5.4% from last year's numbers.

  • Here's how to save money on your Fourth of July barbecue

Are you traveling for the Fourth? Here's a rundown of what you need to know.

Smooth sailing for travel around any holiday is never a given. But avoiding the most hectic times, when others are rushing out of town, is a good way to start.

If you're traveling by car for the Fourth of July, it's best to hit the road in the morning, according to transportation data and insights provider INRIX. Peak traffic congestion varies by location, INRIX data published by AAA shows, but the worst times to drive on, or leading up to, the holiday are generally between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Either way, be prepared for the roads to be jammed.

"Road trips over the holiday week could take up to 67% longer than normal," Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX, said in a prepared statement.

July Fourth falls on a Thursday this year, and many travelers will likely take Friday July 5th off to extend their trip into a four-day weekend. Drivers in large metro areas can expect the biggest delays on Wednesday July 3 and Sunday July 7 — as travelers leave and return to town, Pishue added.

And if you're renting a car ahead of July Fourth, the busiest pickup days will be Friday, Saturday and Wednesday before the holiday, AAA notes.

Airports will also likely be packed all week long — but the TSA expects most people will take to the skies on Friday.

It anticipates that it will screen more than 3 million individuals Friday. That would surpass the agency's current record for most people screened on a single day, which reached just under 3 million last Sunday.

"We expect this summer to be our busiest ever," TSA Administrator David Pekoske said, adding that travel typical peaks around Independence Day.

Last year, the busiest day for Fourth of July air travel was also the Friday ahead of the holiday, TSA data shows. If past trends hold, travel will likely be higher on the days before and after the Fourth — particularly closer to the weekend. In 2023, for example, more than 2 million people were screened on the Fourth, which landed on a Tuesday last year, down from 2.88 million the Friday before.

Flights can be delayed or canceled for an array of reasons — from plane-specific mechanical problems to major storms impacting popular travel paths.

If your flight is canceled, airlines are required to provide refunds for customers, even if the cancellation is due to weather. Delays are trickier, because they typically have to meet certain criteria for relief, such as refunds or compensation — but carriers will often give customers to chance to switch to alternative flights, if available, at no cost.

In April, the Biden administration issued final rules that include requiring airlines to provide automatic cash refunds within a few days for canceled flights and "significant" delays. Those rules are set to take effect over the next two years, but the Department of Transportation has a site that lets consumers see the commitments each airline has made for refunds and covering other expenses when flights are canceled or significantly delayed.

It's better to be stuck at home than locked in hourslong traffic or stranded in an airport terminal. Before heading out the door this holiday week, do yourself a favor and check the status of your travel plans.

Was your flight, train or bus ride delayed? Are there are traffic incidents set to disrupt your drive? And what about the weather? A quick look through your itinerary — such as trip updates on a carrier's website — checking weather forecasts and monitoring traffic safety through services like the 511 hotline or your phone's navigation apps can go a long way toward avoiding travel misery.

Here are a few more tips to keep in mind:

— Leave early: There are more people everywhere during a holiday week, so lines will be longer and roads will be busier. Give yourself more time to get to your destination or to make your way through airport security.

— Keep an eye on the weather — and not just for your destination: Look at the weather for your entire travel path. Even if it's sunny skies both at home and the place you're headed, it's important to keep an eye out for any storms in between. You may need to do some rerouting.

— Be kind: A trip delay or cancellation can be really frustrating — but if you're running into disruptions, chances are others are too. Customer service agents have a lot on their plate at this time of year, and it's important to be patient and respectful as they try to help you.

  • Transportation Security Administration

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More From Forbes

Helsinki cuts carbon emissions by almost two thirds, new figures show.

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Tram on Mannerheimintie street central Helsinki Finland Europe. (Photo by: Sergi Reboredo/VW ... [+] Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Helsinki has reduced carbon emissions per capita by 60% since 1990, according to new figures released by the City of Helsinki.

According to the figures , emissions fell dramatically across all indicators in 2023, except for transport.

Total carbon emissions were 25.4% lower overall and by 27% per capita from 2022 figures, the biggest recorded drop in numbers to date.

And total CO2 emissions have now decreased by 45% from the 1990 baseline, with the per capita figure achieving a of 60% over the same period.

In an interview, the deputy mayor of Helsinki, Anni Sinnemäki, said a key factor in the city-wide efforts to reduce carbon emissions has been the decommissioning of the Hanasaari coal-fired power plant.

The closure has enabled the energy company Helen, which is wholly owned by the City of Helsinki to halve its use of coal as a power source.

Emissions from district heating have decreased by 35% year-on-year, a new record, and emissions from electricity consumption have also decreased by 23%.

Sinnemäki said the city has now set a goal of being carbon neutral by 2030 and the remaining coal-fired plant, which is owned by Helen, is set to be decommissioned in 2025.

But she added that after 2025 traffic will remain the largest carbon emitter in the city and the municipal authority is now looking at how best to reduce emissions in this area.

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“We are a really good city in terms of sustainable traffic already,” she told me. “Walking, public transport and cycling make up 74% of all journeys, while the car only represents 26%.”

Sinnemäki said the city council will be looking at ways to encourage residents to transport options with lower emissions.

Helsinki Region Transport (HSL) has already achieved its target of 30% electrification of the bus fleet ahead of schedule, and the new high-speed tram Raide-Jokeri started operating.

And a record number of tramway projects are being planned – over the next 10 years, more than 30 kilometres of new tramway will operate in Helsinki.

The share of electric cars has also increased significantly in Helsinki.

In 2023, the share of rechargeable cars was approximately 16.7% of all cars actively in traffic, a large increase from 3.4% in 2020.

She added the city council is also keen to make a difference on “Scope 3” carbon emissions, which are not directly generated in the city but still contribute to overall emissions .

For example, she said the city council has already introduced a binding target for the life cycle carbon footprint for residential buildings, which will affect the building materials and therefore decrease emissions in other locations than Helsinki

“Local leaders have a big role in sustainability and should take advantage of all the powers they have as local leaders,” said Sinnemäki.

“But to get the best results, you do need the European, national and local leaders pushing in the same direction.”

In terms of lessons learned in Helsinki, she said the key is to take a comprehensive and systematic approach.

She added setting mid-term timetable targets for 2030, as opposed to longer-term targets, has helped create a sense of urgency.

“It’s important to have an overall ambitious overall target, because it helps private sector investors, the national government, and other municipalities to understand where we are going. It also sends out a message that we are the kind of city who takes this seriously.”

In a statement, Hanna Wesslin, the City of Helsinki’s climate director said Helsinki is internationally renowned as a hub for cleantech and green energy innovation and attracts global talent and business to the city to pioneer new solutions.

“According to the new data, we are making progress with our sustainable urban transportation initiatives to date, with investments in electric vehicles, bike lanes and public transit,” said Wesslin.

“It is important that the new raft of proposals, to be announced this autumn, makes us better prepared for a future centred around a green urban mobility network.”

Jamie Hailstone

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Planning on traveling for the Fourth of July holiday? Here’s how to avoid the rush

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FILE - Motorists head southbound in the local and express lanes on Interstates 90-94 in slow and thickening traffic as a CTA train enters a station on the first day of the Fourth of July holiday weekend, July 1, 2022, in Chicago. Millions of Americans are preparing to get out of town sometime in the coming Fourth of July holiday week, which will likely mean busy roads as well as packed airports and train stations. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

FILE - Travelers walk with their luggage through Union Station in Washington ahead of the Fourth of July holiday, July 1, 2023. Millions of Americans are preparing to get out of town sometime in the coming Fourth of July holiday week, which will likely mean busy roads as well as packed airports and train stations. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough, File)

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NEW YORK (AP) — The Fourth of July is right around the corner, and the travel rush is already heating up.

Millions of Americans are preparing to get out of town sometime in the coming holiday week. That will likely mean busy roads, as well as packed airports and train stations.

Motor club AAA projects that some 70.9 million travelers will head 50 miles (80 kilometers) or more from their homes over a nine-day Independence Day travel period — surpassing pre-pandemic numbers for the U.S. holiday. And the Transportation Security Administration expects to screen over 32 million individuals in airports from this Thursday through July 8, up 5.4% from last year’s numbers.

Are you traveling for the Fourth? Here’s a rundown of what you need to know.

When is the best time to hit the road for July Fourth?

Smooth sailing for travel around any holiday is never a given. But avoiding the most hectic times, when others are rushing out of town, is a good way to start.

If you’re traveling by car for the Fourth of July, it’s best to hit the road in the morning, according to transportation data and insights provider INRIX. Peak traffic congestion varies by location, INRIX data published by AAA shows, but the worst times to drive on, or leading up to, the holiday are generally between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Either way, be prepared for the roads to be jammed.

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“Road trips over the holiday week could take up to 67% longer than normal,” Bob Pishue, transportation analyst at INRIX, said in a prepared statement.

This story is featured in our One Notable Number series , which spotlights the key numbers leading our coverage.

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July Fourth falls on a Thursday this year, and many travelers will likely take Friday July 5th off to extend their trip into a four-day weekend. Drivers in large metro areas can expect the biggest delays on Wednesday July 3 and Sunday July 7 — as travelers leave and return to town, Pishue added.

And if you’re renting a car ahead of July Fourth, the busiest pickup days will be Friday, Saturday and Wednesday before the holiday, AAA notes.

When will airports be busiest?

Airports will also likely be packed all week long — but the TSA expects most people will take to the skies on Friday.

It anticipates that it will screen more than 3 million individuals Friday. That would surpass the agency’s current record for most people screened on a single day, which reached just under 3 million last Sunday.

“We expect this summer to be our busiest ever,” TSA Administrator David Pekoske said, adding that travel typical peaks around Independence Day.

Last year, the busiest day for Fourth of July air travel was also the Friday ahead of the holiday, TSA data shows. If past trends hold, travel will likely be higher on the days before and after the Fourth — particularly closer to the weekend. In 2023, for example, more than 2 million people were screened on the Fourth, which landed on a Tuesday last year, down from 2.88 million the Friday before.

What should I do if my flight is delayed or canceled?

Flights can be delayed or canceled for an array of reasons — from plane-specific mechanical problems to major storms impacting popular travel paths.

If your flight is canceled, airlines are required to provide refunds for customers, even if the cancellation is due to weather . Delays are trickier, because they typically have to meet certain criteria for relief, such as refunds or compensation — but carriers will often give customers to chance to switch to alternative flights, if available, at no cost.

In April, the Biden administration issued final rules that include requiring airlines to provide automatic cash refunds within a few days for canceled flights and “significant” delays. Those rules are set to take effect over the next two years, but the Department of Transportation has a site that lets consumers see the commitments each airline has made for refunds and covering other expenses when flights are canceled or significantly delayed.

Always check your itinerary before leaving home

It’s better to be stuck at home than locked in hourslong traffic or stranded in an airport terminal. Before heading out the door this holiday week, do yourself a favor and check the status of your travel plans.

Was your flight, train or bus ride delayed? Are there are traffic incidents set to disrupt your drive? And what about the weather? A quick look through your itinerary — such as trip updates on a carrier’s website — checking weather forecasts and monitoring traffic safety through services like the 511 hotline or your phone’s navigation apps can go a long way toward avoiding travel misery.

Here are a few more tips to keep in mind:

— Leave early: There are more people everywhere during a holiday week, so lines will be longer and roads will be busier. Give yourself more time to get to your destination or to make your way through airport security.

— Keep an eye on the weather — and not just for your destination: Look at the weather for your entire travel path. Even if it’s sunny skies both at home and the place you’re headed, it’s important to keep an eye out for any storms in between. You may need to do some rerouting.

— Be kind: A trip delay or cancellation can be really frustrating — but if you’re running into disruptions, chances are others are too. Customer service agents have a lot on their plate at this time of year, and it’s important to be patient and respectful as they try to help you.

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