Data Insights: The health and economic benefits of active commuting in Scotland

Categories: Blogs, Data Insights, ADR Scotland, Climate & Sustainability, Health & Wellbeing

Written by Graham Baker 29 October 2020

It is widely accepted that regular, moderate physical activity has positive impacts on health. National policy and strategy places increasing emphasis on its importance, particularly given the inadequate levels of physical activity and increasing prevalence of obesity that is evident among Scottish children and adults. 

Previous research in the area of active commuting was often challenging given the poor availability of data sources. However, using Scottish Census data from 2001 and 2011, this research provides estimates of the health and economic benefits of walking and cycling for commuting purposes at a national level in Scotland.

Our Data Insight provide clear evidence of the substantial benefits which can be generated from even modest levels of active commuting. These results can be used by local authorities, and other organisations, to continue to champion for greater promotion of active travel.

Having successfully created a baseline set of active travel and health metrics for Scotland, my research team and I intend to complete further analyses including on the sociodemographic patterning of active commuting in Scotland.

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