Practitioners

Urban planners, public health leaders and business owners can all help people be active in their neighborhoods. Teachers, principals and school district directors can help children be active before, during and after school. Relying on evidence-based strategies in your work will help you be as effective as possible. Active Living Research has resources to provide practitioners with guidance on promising approaches for preventing obesity and promoting physical activity.

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The Benefits of Street-Scale Features for Walking and Biking

Date: 
09/01/2015
Description: 

Maurer Braun, L. & Reed, A. (2015). The Benefits of Street-Scale Features for Walking and Biking. Washington, DC: American Planning Association.

Abstract: 

As the costs of physical inactivity become increasingly evident, and as planners, public health professionals, and others working in the field of active transportation strive to promote walking and biking, the necessity of retrofitting and updating street facilities and sidewalk features is apparent. The benefits of incorporating infrastructure that supports active transportation into our streetscapes are many. While efforts to encourage walking and biking often focus on physical activity benefits, it is important to recognize that investments in these travel modes offer a wider set of potential co-benefits for communities.

This literature review focuses on the benefits that may arise from investment in different types of street-scale features, either independently or in combination. The review considers not only potential impacts related to physical activity—which have been treated extensively in the literature to date—but also a variety of co-benefits including social cohesion, crime prevention and public safety, multimodal traffic safety, mental health, and economic effects. The review links these co-benefits to various types of street-scale features that encourage walking and biking, such as sidewalks, bicycle lanes, traffic calming, crossing aids, aesthetics and placemaking, public space, street trees, green infrastructure, and street furniture.

This analysis provides background information and supportive data for planners, transportation professionals, advocates, and policy makers working to encourage community design that promotes active transportation. Through this report, individuals working locally will be able to highlight the co-benefits of street-scale interventions that support walking and biking.

This report was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through the Active Living Research program.

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New Research Shows Active Populations Create Winning Cities

Experts call on city leaders to make active cities a reality at summit in Bristol.

June 9, 2015 - Experts are gathering at a summit today to make the case that cities that encourage physical activity have a clear economic advantage.

Taking place in Bristol, UK, speakers from KPMG, The University of California, and the CBI, alongside Mayor of Bristol George Ferguson, will call on city leaders to make physical activity a priority and recognise the positive economic and social benefits that it can bring.

Health Economic Assessment Tools (HEAT) for Walking and for Cycling

Date: 
02/22/2015
Description: 

Workshop at the 2015 Active Living Research Annual Conference.

Abstract: 

The World Health Organization’s Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) is designed to help users  conduct an economic assessment of the health benefits of walking or cycling by estimating the value of reduced mortality that results from specified amounts of walking or cycling. The tool can be used in a number of different situations, for example: 1) when planning a new piece of cycling or walking infrastructure. HEAT attaches a value to the estimated level of cycling or walking when the new infrastructure is in place. This can be compared to the costs of implementing different interventions to produce a benefit–cost ratio (and help to make the case for investment). 2) to value the reduced mortality from past and/or current levels of cycling or walking, such as to a specific workplace, across a city or in a country. It can also be used to illustrate economic consequences from a potential future change in levels of cycling or walking. 3) to provide input into more comprehensive economic appraisal exercises, or prospective health impact assessments. For example, to estimate the mortality benefits from achieving targets to increase cycling or walking, or from the results of an intervention project. The HEAT is evidence-based; built on expert consensus input, and has been built in conjunction with the World Health Organization using transparent evidence-based assumptions. This means it can be used with confidence to conduct economic assessments of walking and cycling interventions. The workshop will explain the basic workings of the HEAT, and then help participants to work through some examples of calculations. Participants with an online laptop or tablet will be able to work through their own examples using the tool at www.heatwalkingcycling.org.

Authors: 
Nick Cavill, PhD, MPH, MFPH, Cavill Associates Ltd
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