12, Sep 2023
HEAT – Assessing the Impacts of Promoting Active Travel

Active Travel

The Active Travel  theme has a wide range of potential benefits for society and the economy, including more mobility, reduced carbon emissions, improved public health and a safer, more liveable environment. Active Travel involves walking or cycling for routine journeys, such as going to the shops, school, work and to see friends and family, rather than taking a taxi or using the car. It has the potential to be more accessible than increasing formal exercise and can be easier to incorporate into daily life, such as by walking or cycling to nearby destinations.

Several studies have shown that factors such as physical environmental characteristics are associated with people travelling actively, for example, the provision of cycle racks at schools and workplaces, parks to visit en route, traffic calming in residential areas and’mini-Holland’ schemes. However, there is still a lack of understanding of how these factors are combined to encourage and sustain active travel.

Active Travel Essentials: Gear and Gadgets for On-the-Go Explorers

The HEAT tool provides an integrated framework for quantifying the impacts of promoting active travel, such as those from increased levels of physical activity and reduced air pollution and crash risks (for walking and cycling) or carbon emissions avoided. Users are able to select from a range of ‘impact profiles’, which vary in how they weight the health impact relative to other benefits.

The model allows users to specify the volume of trips shifted from motorised modes in a reference and comparison case, which are then multiplied by a user-defined level of attributable deaths and carbon emissions (note that the tool ignores other potential causes of mortality over time). Users can also specify the ‘uptake’ phase and build up period for their assessment; for a doubling of active travel the number of attributable deaths and carbon emissions will increase over five years before reaching a steady state.

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