Elsevier

Preventive Medicine

Volume 109, April 2018, Pages 62-70
Preventive Medicine

Health impact assessment of cycling network expansions in European cities

Highlights

Cycling network expansions were associated with a cycling mode share of up to 24.7% in European cities.

Increases in cycling were estimated to provide net health and economic benefits.

Benefits of physical activity outweighed air pollution and traffic incident risks.

Abstract

We conducted a health impact assessment (HIA) of cycling network expansions in seven European cities. We modeled the association between cycling network length and cycling mode share and estimated health impacts of the expansion of cycling networks. First, we performed a non-linear least square regression to assess the relationship between cycling network length and cycling mode share for 167 European cities. Second, we conducted a quantitative HIA for the seven cities of different scenarios (S) assessing how an expansion of the cycling network [i.e. 10% (S1); 50% (S2); 100% (S3), and all-streets (S4)] would lead to an increase in cycling mode share and estimated mortality impacts thereof. We quantified mortality impacts for changes in physical activity, air pollution and traffic incidents. Third, we conducted a cost–benefit analysis. The cycling network length was associated with a cycling mode share of up to 24.7% in European cities. The all-streets scenario (S4) produced greatest benefits through increases in cycling for London with 1,210 premature deaths (95% CI: 447–1,972) avoidable annually, followed by Rome (433; 95% CI: 170–695), Barcelona (248; 95% CI: 86–410), Vienna (146; 95% CI: 40–252), Zurich (58; 95% CI: 16–100) and Antwerp (7; 95% CI: 3–11). The largest cost–benefit ratios were found for the 10% increase in cycling networks (S1). If all 167 European cities achieved a cycling mode share of 24.7% over 10,000 premature deaths could be avoided annually. In European cities, expansions of cycling networks were associated with increases in cycling and estimated to provide health and economic benefits.

Abbreviations

CI
confidence interval
EPOMM
European Platform on Mobility Management
ERF
exposure response function
GADM
Database of Global Administrative Areas
HIA
health impact assessment
MET
metabolic equivalent of task
OSM
OpenStreetMap
PA
physical activity
PAF
population attributable fraction
PASTA
Physical Activity through Sustainable Transport Approaches
PM2.5
particulate matter with a diameter of ≤2.5 μg/m3
RR
relative risk
S
scenario
SD
standard deviation
TEMS
European Platform on Mobility Management Modal Split Tool
VoSL
value of statistical life

Keywords

Cost–benefit analysis
Cycling network
Health impact assessment
Mode share
Mortality
Open data
View full text