Combined with concerns about climate change, air pollution and human health, the COVID-19 pandemic has renewed the use of and policy interest in active transport (AT) modes, namely cycling and walking. However, we note a high degree of uncertainty and lack of assessments addressing the economic benefits of AT policies; particularly when they are used as a mix of policies at the local level. This study aims to address this knowledge gap. We use the city of Oxford as a case study and apply the WHO Health Economic Assessment Tool and different baselines to assess four policy packages promoting a mode shift to AT for the 2030–2050 period. In total, 312 policy scenarios were produced and analysed. Results show that a policy mix that maximises economic benefits entails bike-sharing, cycle parking, training and education, low traffic neighbourhoods, e-bike grants, a workplace parking levy and increased use of a ‘cycle-to-work’ Scheme. Considering the health impacts from increased physical activity and avoided CO2 emissions, benefits are estimated in the range of: 62–256 prevented premature deaths; 18–50 million tonnes of avoided CO2e emissions; resulting in a total gross benefit of €3.45–11.28 billion. These impacts remain high and robust when key input parameters are tested via a sensitivity analysis. We conclude that investing in AT policy measures represents a multi-faceted low-carbon opportunity that should not be missed by policymakers.
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