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Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute

HEAT Health Economic assessment tools for walking and biking

The health and economic assessment tool (HEAT) for cycling and walking:

  • is intended to be part of comprehensive cost–benefit analyses of transport interventions or infrastructure projects;
  • complements existing tools for economic valuations of
    transport interventions, for example on emissions or congestion;
  • can also be used to assess the current situation or past investment;
  • is based on best available evidence, with parameters that can be adapted
    to fit specific situations. Default parameters are valid for the European context.

HEAT calculates the answer to the following question: if x people cycle or walk y distance on most days, what is the economic value of mortality rate improvements?
A guidance book and summary address practitioners and experts, focusing on approaches to the economic valuation of positive health effects related to cycling
and walking.
The latest version of HEAT (forthcoming) will also allow to calculate the health
impacts of exposure to air pollution.

HEAT can be applied in many situations, for example:

  • to plan a new piece of cycling or walking infrastructure: it models the
    impact of different levels of cycling or walking, and attaches a value to
    the estimated level when the new infrastructure is in place;
  • to value the mortality benefits from current levels of cycling or walking,
    such as benefits from cycling or walking to a specific workplace, across
    a city or in a country;
  • to provide input into more comprehensive cost–benefit analyses, or prospective health impact assessments: for instance, to estimate the mortality benefits
    from achieving national targets to increase cycling or walking, or to illustrate potential cost consequences of a decline in current levels of cycling or walking.

To date, over 90 applications in reports, academic and government papers have
been documented. HEAT is part of official national guidance for transport economic assessments in England, the United Kingdom and Sweden and it is officially promoted in Austria, Finland  and France.


For more information and to participate please visit the project page.

Weiterführende Informationen


Sonja Kahlmeier (Project Leader)

Nick Cavill

Alberto Castro Fernandez

Thomas Götschi

Marc Nieuwenhuijsen

David Rojas

James Woodcock