Walking has significant benefits for a community, but often the health and economic impacts are overlooked. Making the case to invest in pedestrian infrastructure requires convincing funders and decisions makers of the economic payoffs that will come from a healthier more active population. Economic benefits come from reduced health care costs, increases in workforce productivity, and money spent on the infrastructure itself. Drawing on the work of Dr. Larry Frank and Dr. Nicole Iroz-Elardo at Urban Design 4 Health in quantifying and monetizing health impacts of active transportation, this workshop will discuss foundational economic concepts and illustrate them with recent cases. By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to:
- Identify and communicate cost-of-illness from the literature to frame the sheer size of chronic disease healthcare expenditures and worker productivity drag in a region;
- Articulate the options to quantify the public health benefits of land use and transportation investments including both mortality and morbidity;
- Pair the quantified health benefits with appropriate cost-of-illness methodology to monetize health;
- Describe how to use the monetized healthcare expenditures and worker productivity gains in input-output modeling to show indirect and induced economic demand from active travel; and
- Explain how active transportation results in other economic benefits such as real estate values, consumer spending, commuting costs, and tourism.
These topics will be illustrated with several recent projects by Urban Design 4 Health. Participants will learn how a population attributable fraction approach was used in a Portland, Oregon climate scenario planning effort; how the health impacts of physical activity in the Southern California 2016 Regional Transportation Plan were quantified and monetized; and how an input-output model was utilized to provide a flexible planning tool to monetize active travel in Utah.