Economic cost of transport-related health effects

  • The socioeconomic cost of road traffic injuries – much of which is borne by the health sector – is estimated to be about 2% of a country’s gross domestic product (GDP). For EU countries alone, this means about €180 billion – twice the annual EU budget (2004).
  • Accidents are the most important category of external cost of transport in Europe: €158 billion a year or 2.5–3.0% of GDP in 17 Member States.
  • In Austria, the modal share of cycling is (2009) 5%, with an average length of trips of 2 km. It is estimated that this level of cycling saves 412 lives every year through regular physical activity. The corresponding average savings for Austria from this reduced mortality are estimated to amount to €405 million per year. Achieving a 10% cycling share would double the savings.
  • In England, the costs of inactivity were estimated in 2002 to be €3–12 billion, including those to the health system, days of absence from work and loss of income due to premature death. This excludes the contribution of physical inactivity to overweight and obesity, whose overall cost might run to €9.6–10.8 billion per year. In Switzerland the direct treatment costs of physical inactivity are estimated at €1.1–1.5 billion per year.
  • On the basis of the studies above, physical inactivity can be estimated to cost a country about €150–300 per citizen per year.