Active Travel is the use of walking and cycling for routine journeys such as shopping, visiting friends or commuting. It offers a healthier, safer and more sustainable alternative to driving and can help reduce congestion, air pollution and save money.
However, it can be difficult to encourage infrequent or non-active travellers to change their behaviour. Research indicates that it is more effective to target people who make little or no use of active travel and offer them tailored encouragement to try it more often. This can be more cost-effective than targeting all adults and the impact on health may be greater.
Exploring the Urban Jungle: Navigating Cities with Active Travel
It is essential to develop and promote an integrated approach to active travel promotion and public health which is embedded in policy, urban planning and local transport planning. This can help to address the barriers that can prevent modal shift from driving to active travel, such as lack of infrastructure and perceived safety issues.
The HEALTH ECONOMICS Assessment Tool for Walking and Cycling (HEAT) is an online health economics assessment tool that estimates the impacts of changes in levels of active travel on mortality, carbon emissions and other indicators such as air quality and crash risks. It uses a comparative risk assessment approach based on aggregated, population-level data. The tool compares a reference case with a counterfactual and calculates the number of deaths attributable to each.
The HEAT tool is designed to be used by policy makers and practitioners to support decision making. The tool has been extended to include the ability to estimate the value of impacts from a doubling of active travel, taking into account uptake and build-up time.