WHO's Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) 'Highly Commended' at the UK National Transport Awards

WHO/Nicoletta di Tanno

HEAT was praised for its contribution to sustainable transport at a ceremony held in London on 7 October 2011. By providing a methodology and a user-friendly tool that calculates in economic terms the health benefits of cycling or walking as a means of transport, HEAT supports policies to reduce the transport impact on health and the environment.

HEAT also helps make the case for promoting physical activity as a means of transport, demonstrating that shifting the balance from motorized transport to cycling and walking brings additional benefits to health associated with increased physical activity. Such benefits are on top of those achieved from reduced air pollution, noise and – if accompanied by suitable strategies – increased road safety. Taking this total into account can result in vastly increased benefit:cost ratios.

HEAT was developed by WHO/Europe in close collaboration with the European network on health-enhancing physical activity (HEPA Europe) and within the Pan-European Programme on Transport, Health and Environment (THE PEP). It contributes to comprehensive cost-benefit analyses of transport interventions or infrastructure projects, complementing existing tools for economic valuations of transport interventions on, for example, emissions or congestion. It can also be used for an assessment of the current situation or of investments made in the past.