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Guide to Calculating Mobility Management Benefits Victoria Transport Policy Institute

Physical Fitness and Public Health Health experts are increasingly concerned about the health problems caused by a sedentary living, and so value transport and land use policies that increase physical activity, such as daily walking and cycling. Increased physical activity can reduce many significant health risks, including cardiovascular disease and diabetes, providing potentially large direct and indirect benefits.

Fitness and Health Benefits Subcategories

  • Reduced fatalities, disabilities and illnesses.

  • Reduced productivity losses (from deaths and disabilities).

  • Reduced medical and rehabilitation expenses.

  • Productivity gains from increased worker fitness.

  • Support for recreation, sport and tourist activities.

  • Increased property values in walkable and bikeable communities.

  • Personal enjoyment.

Strategies that improve walking and cycling conditions or encourage nonmotorized travel are particularly effective at increasing physical activity. Reduced motor vehicle travel tends to increase walking and cycling activity, since nonmotorized trips often substitute for automobile trips, either completely or in conjunction with transit trips, since most transit trips include walking or cycling links. Smart growth land use reforms that result in more walkable and bikeable communities tend to increase public fitness and health.

Table 12

Fitness and Health Benefits Effectiveness

Most Effective

Walking & cycling improvements Walking & cycling encouragement Universal design Commute trip reduction programs

School & campus transport management

Carfree planning Traffic calming Tourist transport management Smart growth

Moderate Effects

Marketing programs Transit improvements Rideshare programs Parking pricing Parking management Fuel tax increases Congestion pricing

Least Effective Carsharing

Taxi service improvements

Telework Flextime HOV priority

Freight transport management

Negative Impacts

Increased walking and cycling activity, and increased development density, may sometimes increase crash risk and air pollution exposure.

This table identifies how various mobility management strategies help increase transport diversity.

Conventional transportation planning generally considers increased physical activity a desirable objective but outside transport agencies’ primary responsibility, as indicated by the tiny portion of transport budgets typically devoted to nonmotorized improvements, and so gives it little consideration when evaluating individual projects. There is no standard method for monetizing the health benefits of increased physical activity, but they are probably comparable to crash reduction benefits (“Health and Fitness,” VTPI, 2006).

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