29 June, 2010 – A series of three reports released by Parsons Brinckerhoff and the Curtin University Sustainable Policy Institute have shown that active-travel cities are 6 per cent more productive.

Authors of the report, Roman Trubka, Peter Newman and Darren Bilsborough, show that higher productivity in active-travel cities – which encourage people to walk and cycle – is forecast to generate close to $40 million in health and productivity savings over the nex50 years.

The three complementary reports compare the costs associated with inner versus fringe development:

•    Costs associated with infrastructure and transportation
•    Greenhouse gas emissions
•    Activity-related health

Parsons Brinckerhoff director of sustainability Darren Bilsborough explained why the research supported an alternative approach to urban development.

“Active-travel cities encourage higher levels of physical activity through incidental exercise – with a proportional decrease in health costs.

“Increased workforce productivity was measured by lower absenteeism, stress levels, job satisfaction and turnover due to better health.

“Nations have previously estimated the economical and environmental costs of inactivity; but we’ve taken this to the next level.”

The research builds on the original PB-CUSP Alliance report released in 2008, which detailed the infrastructure, environment and health costs of inner city versus fringe development. All three reports can also be sourced through  this link .