Health economic assessment tool (HEAT) for cycling and walking

To facilitate evidence-based decision-making, WHO has developed, in collaboration with experts, an online tool to estimate the value of reduced mortality that results from regular walking or cycling.

The health and economic assessment tool (HEAT) for cycling and walking:

  • is intended to be part of comprehensive cost–benefit analyses of transport interventions or infrastructure projects;
  • complements existing tools for economic valuations of transport interventions, for example on emissions or congestion;
  • can also be used to assess the current situation or past investment;
  • is based on best available evidence, with parameters that can be adapted to fit specific situations. Default parameters are valid for the European context.

HEAT calculates the answer to the following question: if x people cycle or walk y distance on most days, what is the economic value of mortality rate improvements?

A guidance book and summary address practitioners and experts, focusing on approaches to the economic valuation of positive health effects related to cycling and walking.


HEAT can be applied in many situations, for example:

  • to plan a new piece of cycling or walking infrastructure: it models the impact of different levels of cycling or walking, and attaches a value to the estimated level when the new infrastructure is in place;
  • to value the mortality benefits from current levels of cycling or walking, such as benefits from cycling or walking to a specific workplace, across a city or in a country;
  • to provide input into more comprehensive cost–benefit analyses, or prospective health impact assessments: for instance, to estimate the mortality benefits from achieving national targets to increase cycling or walking, or to illustrate potential cost consequences of a decline in current levels of cycling or walking.

The tool has already been applied in several countries.