Quantifying the Health Impacts of Transportation Investments 2012

International Congress on Physical Activity and Public Health - Satellite Meeting

Wednesday, October 31st 2012
Darling Harbour Convention Centre, Sydney Australia


Session Objectives

• Promote greater understanding and collaboration between Transport and Health professionals in the promotion of active transport
• Examine current research evidence regarding the quantification of health benefits of active transport
• Identify opportunities for systematically integrating active transportation and health into all stages of transport planning and practice


Overview of the Session – Key Themes

The case for action – examine why we should consider health outcomes in the planning and design of our neighbourhoods, transportation networks and public spaces.

A framework for action – outline research evidence identifying the health costs of landuse patterns and transportation infrastructure and establish a framework for quantifying the positive and negative health impacts of transportation investments

Leadership and action – establish how national and state planning and transport agencies can systematically integrate active transportation and health into all stages of planning and practice



Welcome and introduction
Carolyn McNally, Deputy Director General, Transport for NSW


The Case for Action: Health benefits/costs of travel modes

Chris Rissel, PhD, Professor Prevention Research Collaboration, Sydney School of Public Health

The case for action: health benefits/costs of travel modes (PDF)

Key topics include; the state of public health across the globe; the role of active living in reducing risk for chronic disease; the cost to health of cars and the co-benefits of active travel; the influence of public transport service on active transport mode share and health outcomes


A framework for action/the case for monetization

Lawrence Frank, PhD, CIP, ASLA, Professor & Bombardier Chair in Sustainable Transportation, University of British Columbia

A framework for action/the case for monetization (PDF)

Key topics include; the hidden costs of landuse patterns and transportation infrastructure; accounting for hidden health costs; North American approaches to monetize health costs of transport planning decisions


Steps towards monetizing health costs of transportation investments

Nick Cavill, PhD, Research Associate of the University of Oxford BHF Health Promotion Research Group, UK

Steps towards monetizing health costs of transportation investments (PDF)

Key topics include; European approaches of incorporating health costs and benefits into transportation planning decisions; the World Health Organisation’s approach to estimate the health costs and benefits of walking and cycling; European cost-benefit models being used to monetize the health benefits of active transportation


Incorporation of health considerations within transport planning in Australia

Rob Tyson, Associate Director Economics and Policy, PwC Australia

Incorporation of health considerations within transport planning in Australia (PDF)

Key topics include; Australian approaches of monetizing health benefits of active transportation. What cost-benefit models are being used across the country? What research and data is needed to improve current models?


Leadership & Action: Partnerships, Practice & Policy (facilitated discussion)

This interactive discussion explored the role of political leadership, governmental partnerships, and cross-sectoral partnerships in institutionalizing health as a required component of transportation planning and investment decisions. What can Australia learn and/or share to more systemically incorporate health in transportation planning process.

Panelists included all four previous speakers and:

  • Corinne Mulley, Chair in Public Transport and Director of Public Transport Program, Institute of Transport Logistic Studies, Australia
  • Peter McCue, Executive Officer, NSW Premier’s Council for Active Living, Australia (Discussion Chair)



Speaker Biographies


Professor Chris Rissel

Professor Rissel is actively involved in promoting cycling as a form of active transport to increase population levels of physical activity. He has published numerous studies on aspects of cycling, including co-authoring the national report for the Department of Health and Ageing “‘Cycling: Getting Australia Moving - Barriers, facilitators and interventions to get more Australians physically active through cycling”. He is currently an Investigator in an ARC Linkage Grant ‘Safer Cycling’ - a cohort study involving 2000 cyclists in NSW to study risks and exposure. He has recently completed a three year NSW Health demonstration health promotion grant, which was a new intervention to promote cycling as a way of increasing population level physical activity (the Cycling Connecting Communities project). He has just been awarded an ARC Linkage Grant to develop and apply an evaluation framework assessing the transport health and economic impacts of new urban cycling infrastructure in Sydney. Chris is Professor of Public Health in the School of Public Health University of Sydney, and Director of the NSW Office of Preventive Health.


Professor Larry Frank

Dr. Frank is the Bombardier Chairholder in Sustainable Transportation at the University of British Columbia and Senior Non-resident Fellow of the Brookings Institution. He is cross-appointed with the School of Population and Public Health and specializes in the interaction between land use, travel behavior, air quality, and health. He has been studying the effects of neighborhood walkability on travel patterns and sustainability for nearly 20 years. He has lead or co-authored dozens of papers and two books Health and Community Design, The Impacts of The Built Environment on Physical Activity and Urban Sprawl and Public Health on these topics. He and his colleagues have also been conducting detailed assessments of fuel consumption and climate change impacts of urban form policies. Over the past decade Dr. Frank has been working directly with local governments to help translate results from research into practice based tools that can provide direct feedback on the health and environmental impacts of alternative transportation and land development proposals.


Dr Nick Cavill

Nick Cavill is a director of an independent public health consultancy, a research associate of the University of Oxford BHF Health Promotion Research Group, and an honorary senior research fellow at the University of Salford. He specialises in the development of policy and programmes on sustainable transport and the links to physical activity. He is currently a specialist advisor to the National Obesity Observatory, and a member of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence Programme Development Group on walking and cycling. He was one of the core team for the WHO Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) for walking and cycling; a member of the Dept of Health’s Physical Activity Editorial Group; and a member of the World Cancer Research Fund policy panel. He has worked at both Departments of Health and Transport, and was formerly at the Health Education Authority, where he was head of the physical activity programme from 1994 – 2000.


Rob Tyson

Rob Tyson is an Associate Director within the PwC Economic & Policy team. He has a technical background in cost benefits analysis, primarily focusing on major public transport, road and multimodal transport appraisals. He has also works with a number of public and private sector health providers on efficient health pricing. Recently, he has used this background to help develop a number of economic methodologies and appraisal frameworks for cycling and walking which not only adhere to the strict principles of cost benefit analysis, but also ensure direct comparability to appraisal techniques used for other transport modes.


Professor Corinne Mulley

Professor Corinne Mulley is the founding Chair in Public Transport at the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies. As a transport economist she has researched and published at the interface of transport policy and economics, in particular on issues relating to public transport. Since coming to Sydney, Corinne has been involved with State government on the development of transport plans and other studies, the independent regulators, local government, community transport organisations and community groups.


Peter McCue

Peter McCue is the Executive Officer of the NSW Premier’s Council for Active Living (PCAL) an interagency body that aims to link infrastructure and services agencies, industry and the community sector to promote active living. PCAL represents one of the first Australian examples of high-level interagency active living collaborations and the Council has maintained a key focus on active travel and health promoting urban environments. Prior to PCAL, Peter worked for over twenty years promoting physical activity in Australia, Asia and Europe within public health, recreation planning and the tertiary sector.