Health economic assessment tool (HEAT) for cycling and walking
HEAT is an online resource to estimate the economic savings resulting from reductions in mortality as a consequence of regular cycling and/or walking. It 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?
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 (this can be compared to the costs to produce a benefit–cost ratio (and help make the case for investment), or as an input into a more comprehensive cost benefit analysis);
- 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.
Examples of applications are available from several countries.
The development of HEAT was carried out within the Transport, Health and Environment Pan-European Programme (THE PEP) and in close collaboration with HEPA Europe. It was supported by an international advisory group of economists and experts on health, physical activity and transport.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial support received by Austria (Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management), Sweden (Swedish Expertise Fund), Switzerland (Swiss Federal Office of Public Health) and a consortium of donors from the United Kingdom under the leadership of Natural England and the European Union in the framework of the Health Programme 2008–2013 (Grant agreement 2009 52 02).