Assessing the Potential Health Benefits of Cycling at the City of Viana Do Castelo



Assessing the Potential Health Benefits of Cycling at the City of Viana Do Castelo

Authors

P Ribeiro, J F G Mendes, University of Minho; E Arsenion, LNEC, PT

Description

This paper will explain a work plan and a mechanism to capture the experiences made and lessons learned from the practical application of the Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) for walking and cycling.

Abstract

Mobility has an important impact on the overall functioning of cities, namely due to high motorization rates related with a strong preference for the use of private cars as main mode of transport that often result in the road congestion. Motorized traffic is associated with massive emissions of noise and other types of pollutants, in which greenhouse gases are included, as well as high costs related with time, fuel and the degradation of people’s health. Nevertheless, a deeper conscience about this issue is being induced by questions related with energy consumption and environmental aspects associated with the most recent technological developments on transportation systems. To minimize the externalities of the performance of the transportation system, it is recognized that the influence of motorized vehicles in urban mobility has to be reduced through the promotion of the use of public transports, with the adoption of new solutions of car-sharing, car-pooling or bike-sharing, and also with the promotion of active modes of transportation: walking and cycling.

Walking and cycling are suitable mainly for short distances. Thus, the promotion of these modes is related with the city layout, namely with the location of different uses, which can have an important role in the accomplishment of higher levels of accessibility and mobility. Active modes of transport are more exposed to noise and air pollution than other road users. The density of motorized traffic, the safety conditions and the level of pollutants in urban environments are a real threat to people’s integrity and health. Urban regeneration of cities should consider the mobility of active modes of transport as a key issue to promote higher and more equitable levels of mobility and accessibility for all citizens.

In this paper, a work plan and a mechanism to capture the experiences made and lessons learned from the practical application of the Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) for walking and cycling will be presented for the case of the city of Viana do Castelo, located in the North of Portugal, particularly with regard to exchange with non-health sectors. This will enclose the results of city’s participation in the Healthy Cities sub-network for exchanging experiences on physical activity, urban planning and economic assessment.

The paper will focus on the report of the application of the HEAT tool to the case study, which includes the following general steps: the definition of target policy scenario and alternative policy scenario for later comparison and impact evaluation of the tool; the description of planned use of the tool and the expected impact; a baseline assessment; the definition, collection and preparation of the required data input and the main results and analyses of the practical application of this tool to the city centre of Viana do Castelo.

Publisher

Association for European Transport