Potential for reduced premature mortality by current and increased bicycle commuting. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Potential for reduced premature mortality by current and increased bicycle commuting: a health impact assessment using registry data on home and work addresses in Stockholm, Sweden.
BMJ Open Sport Exerc Med. 2021 ;7(1):e000980. Epub 2021 Jan 29. PMID: 33537153
Johan Nilsson Sommar
Objectives: The study aims to make use of individual data to estimate the impact on premature mortality due to both existing commuter bicycling and the potential impact due to increased physical activity through shifting transport mode from car commuting to bicycling.
Methods: Using registry data on home and work addresses for the population of Stockholm County the shortest bicycling route on a network of bicycle paths and roads was retrieved. Travel survey data were used to establish current modes of commuting. The relation between duration of bicycling and distance bicycled within the general population in 2015 was established as a basis for identifying individuals that currently drive a car to work but were estimated to have the physical capacity to bicycle to work within 30 min. Within this mode-shift scenario from car-to-bike the duration of bicycling per week was estimated, both among current and potential bicycle commuters. The health impact assessment (HIA) on mortality due to bicycle commuting physical activity was estimated using the same relative risk as within the WHO Health Economic Assessment Tool.
Results: The current number of bicycle commuters were 53 000, and the scenario estimated an additional 111 000. Their mean bicycle distances were 4.5 and 3.4 km, respectively. On average these respective amounts of physical activity reduced the yearly mortality by 16% and 12%, resulting in 11.3 and 16.2 fewer preterm deaths per year.
Conclusion: The HIA of transferring commuting by car to bicycle estimated large health benefits due to increased physical activity.