Evidence shows that opportunities to inform infrastructure investment and transport planning are impeded by a lack of policy-relevant, easily accessed evidence on health and economic benefits, which is currently missing from transport modelling.
This project will build tools for measuring the heath impact of active transport by translating the award-winning THAT-Melbourne to THAT-Brisbane.
Building tools for measuring the health impacts of active transport: Transport Health Assessment Tool for BrisbaneProject title
What is the issue?
Walking and cycling for transport have many co-benefits including increasing physical activity, improving social connection, and alleviating road network wide congestion and decreasing air pollution from traffic.
However, half the Australian adult population does not do enough physical activity to achieve physical and mental health benefits and three quarters of adults commute by car while many common short trips could be replaced by healthier forms of transport like walking or cycling.
How will the project address the issue?
This research will support evidence-based planning by scaling up an existing award-winning tool by developing a Transport Health Assessment Tool for Brisbane (THAT-Brisbane), strengthening prevention efforts across transport planning and health with a ready to use application for policy adoption. THAT-Brisbane builds on THAT-Melbourne, accessible through the Australian Urban Observatory (AUO), which recently received a National Research Excellence Award from the Planning Institute of Australia.
What are the expected outcomes?
The aim of THAT-Brisbane is to improve practitioner literacy on health impacts of active transport to support evidence-based planning for healthier cities.
The tools measure and evaluate the health benefits of replacing short car trips with active transport and provide metrics on reductions for seven chronic diseases (ischaemic heart disease, stroke, diabetes type 2, lung and colon cancers, and breast and uterine cancers in women). They will be freely accessible through the AUO digital liveability platform that measures and maps liveability across 21 Australian cities.
What is the relevance for policy and practice?
While quantifying health and economic benefits is complex, this tool and downloadable scenario reports accessed via the AUO will make it easy for policy makers and practitioners to use and apply information in reporting and advocacy actions. It will help strengthen prevention systems and intersectoral policy making across the health, transport, and urban planning sectors. The metrics will assist policy and the development of health supporting transport infrastructure to reduce and prevent chronic diseases in the future.