THAT-Melbourne wins national PIA Award for Planning Research

The Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) last night awarded the Planning Research award to the Centre for Urban Research project “Measuring the health impacts of transport modelling” and the Transport Health Assessment Tool for Melbourne (THAT-Melbourne), led by Dr Lucy Gunn.

The award recognises an outstanding achievement in planning research. PIA noted that the research was an “innovative tool pertinent to current planning practice, and will assist planners to make well-informed decisions with wide-ranging benefits to the community.”

The tool is a freely accessible web-based simulation model and tool that presents data on the health benefits of walking and cycling when undertaken in place of driving. With more than 2000 visits to the THAT-Melbourne site since April last year, it is hoped the tool will support planning and policy practitioners justify active transport infrastructure investment.

“I’m very excited to have received the PIA Award for Excellence in Research Planning on behalf of an incredible team of RMIT researchers,” Dr Gunn said.

The project team included Dr Belen Zapata-Diomedi, a RMIT Vice Chancellor Postdoctoral Fellow whose modelling work forms the basis for the tool, Dr Alan Both, A/Prof Melanie Davern, Dr Chris De Gruyter, Dr Annette Kroen and Ms Mahsa Abdollahyar.

THAT-Melbourne builds on work initially funded through the Australian Partnership Prevention Centre, which developed maps and indicators of liveability across 21 Australian cities that are now being disseminated through the Australian Urban Observatory, led by A/Prof Melanie Davern.

Developed as part of a partnership project between the Centre for Urban Research and the Victorian Department of Transport, the project was funded by RMIT University’s Enabling Capability Fund and support from the Australian Prevention Centre.

The team were awarded the state-level PIA Victoria prize for the project in December before going on to the national prize.