Development of the health economic assessment tools (HEAT) for walking and cycling



Meeting report of the consensus workshop in Bonn, Germany, 1–2 October 2013

The promotion of active transport (cycling and walking) for everyday physical activity is an important approach to address the challenge of high levels of physical inactivity in most regions of the world. This requires building effective partnerships with the transport and urban planning sectors, whose policies are highly influential in providing appropriate conditions for such behavioural changes to take place and be maintained. Economic appraisal is an established practice in transport planning. However, until recently the health effects of transport interventions have seldom been taken into account in such analyses. The Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) for Walking and Cycling provides guidance and a practical, web-based tool for economically assessing the health effects of walking and cycling. It is based on the evidence on the association between walking and cycling and all-cause mortality. The third consensus meeting was convened to achieve scientific consensus on updating the relative risk functions for cycling and walking and the economic valuation of mortality and on an approach to integrate the influence of air pollution on mortality in HEAT. The meeting was attended by 24 experts from public health, transport and environmental sciences as well as economics, advocacy and practice and four WHO staff members of the WHO Regional Office for Europe.