This project models the physical activity and health economic impacts of the ease of walking and cycling to essential destinations within neighbourhoods and commuting in Melbourne.

  • Project dates: 2017 (ongoing)


Physical activity and walking are vital for wellbeing. The accessibility and “walkability” of where we live and work is key to supporting walking and increasing population levels of physical activity. Public health practitioners, urban planners and the transport sector across the world face a common challenge; shifting people from private vehicles to active forms of transport.

This project investigates how local accessibility (e.g. having nearby shops and services at home and around work) and regional accessibility (e.g. having efficient public transport to work or study) are related to walking and cycling. It also examines the complex relationships between adult’s and children’s travel needs and household travel resources such as income, car ownership and licensing, to estimate the economic and health cost of inequalities in opportunities for active travel.

The research is a collaboration between four universities (University of Melbourne, RMIT, Deakin University and Australian Catholic University) and three industry partners (VicRoads, Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources and VicHealth).  The research utilises valuable data from these industry partners including a household travel survey on adults and children’s travel patterns (The Victorian Integrated Survey of Travel and Activity or VISTA) and transport modelling data on road and public transport travel times across metropolitan Melbourne.


The project will produce evidence on individual, built environment and transport systems characteristics associated with active travel for people at different stages of the life course. This information is crucial to facilitate transport system changes that can support environmental sustainability and population health. Importantly, this project will strengthen a long-term research alliance with our three industry partners.

SNAMUTS Composite Index Melbourne 2011

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