James Woodcock

James Woodcock
University of Cambridge | Cam · MRC Epidemiology Unit

PhD LSHTM

About

197
Publications
47,998
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Introduction
I lead the Public Health Modelling Group at CEDAR, MRC Epi Unit, University of Cambridge. We do exposure and health impact modelling of transport, particularly cycling, and are beginning to model diets. I have led the development of ITHIM, a transport health impact model used in both research and policy. I lead the development of the National Propensity to Cycle for the Department for Transport. I also use complex system models to understand how we might achieve changes in travel and diet. Almost all my articles are open access so please check before asking me.
Additional affiliations
January 2013 - present
University of Cambridge
Description
  • Senior Research Associate
January 2008 - present
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Description
  • Honorary Lecturer

Publications

Publications (197)
Article
Using a health impact assessment framework, we estimated the population health effects arising from alternative land-use and transport policy initiatives in six cities. Land-use changes were modelled to reflect a compact city in which land-use density and diversity were increased and distances to public transport were reduced to produce low motoris...
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Aims/hypothesis: Inverse associations between physical activity (PA) and type 2 diabetes mellitus are well known. However, the shape of the dose-response relationship is still uncertain. This review synthesises results from longitudinal studies in general populations and uses non-linear models of the association between PA and incident type 2 diab...
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The purpose of the study was to describe cyclists and cycling trips, and to explore correlates, time trends and health consequences of cycling in São Paulo, Brazil from 1997-2012. Cross-sectional analysis using repeated São Paulo Household Travel Surveys (HTS). At all time periods cycling was a minority travel mode in São Paulo (1,174 people with c...
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Active travel (cycling, walking) is beneficial for the health due to increased physical activity (PA). However, active travel may increase the intake of air pollution, leading to negative health consequences. We examined the risk–benefit balance between active travel related PA and exposure to air pollution across a range of air pollution and PA sc...
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In this paper we represent a systematic review of stated preference studies examining the extent to which cycle infrastructure preferences vary by gender and by age. A search of online, English-language academic and policy literature was followed by a three-stage screening process to identify relevant studies. We found fifty-four studies that inves...
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Background Transport initiatives such as 20-mph (≈30-km/h) speed limits are anticipated to result in fewer road casualties and improve perceptions of safety, leading to increases in active travel. Lower speeds may also lead to more pleasant environments in which to live, work and play. Objectives The main objective was to evaluate and understand t...
Conference Paper
Background Travel has individual, societal and planetary health implications. We explored socioeconomic and gendered differences in travel behaviour in Africa, to develop an understanding of travel-related inequity. Methods We conducted a mixed-methods systematic review (PROSPERO CRD42019124802). In 2019, we searched MEDLINE, TRID, SCOPUS, Web of...
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The literature on urban travel behaviour in Africa is sparse, limiting our understanding of how urban transport policies respond to human and planetary needs. We conducted a cross-sectional household telephone survey on 1334 participants, using a 24 h time-use diary, to investigate travel behaviour and barriers to active travel (walking and cycling...
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There is a lack of data on physical activity (PA), active travel, and the comparison of measurement instruments in low-resource settings. The objective of this paper is to describe PA behaviour and the agreement of walking estimates from the Global Physical Activity Questionnaire (GPAQ) and the travel diary in a low-resource setting. We used a cros...
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Diabetes and obesity present a high and increasing burden of disease in the Caribbean that have failed to respond to prevention policies and interventions. These conditions are the result of a complex system of drivers and determinants that can make it difficult to predict the impact of interventions. In partnership with stakeholders, we developed...
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Importance: Depression is the leading cause of mental health-related disease burden and may be reduced by physical activity, but the dose-response relationship between activity and depression is uncertain. Objective: To systematically review and meta-analyze the dose-response association between physical activity and incident depression from pub...
Article
Responses to COVID-19 altered environmental exposures and health behaviours associated with non-communicable diseases. We aimed to (1) quantify changes in nitrogen dioxide (NO 2), noise, physical activity, and greenspace visits associated with COVID-19 policies in the spring of 2020 in Barcelona (Spain), Vienna (Austria), and Stockholm (Sweden), an...
Article
Background Road traffic is the main source of environmental noise in European cities and one of the main environmental risks to health and wellbeing. In this study we aimed to provide an in-depth assessment of available road traffic noise data and to estimate population exposure and health impacts for cities in Europe. Methods We conducted the ana...
Preprint
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Objective To estimate dose-response associations between non-occupational physical activity and multiple chronic disease outcomes in the general adult population. Eligibility criteria Prospective cohort studies with (a) general population samples >10,000 adults, (b) ≥3 exposure categories, and (c) risk measures and confidence intervals for all-cau...
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Purpose of Review Features and attributes of the built environment (BE) impact positively and negatively on health, especially in cities facing unprecedented urban population growth and mass motorization. A common approach to assess the health impacts of built environment is health impact assessment (HIA), but it is rarely used in low- and middle-i...
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Full-text available
Responses to COVID-19 altered environmental exposures and health behaviours associated with non-communicable diseases. We aimed to (1) quantify changes in nitrogen dioxide (NO2), noise, physical activity, and greenspace visits associated with COVID-19 policies in the spring of 2020 in Barcelona (Spain), Vienna (Austria), and Stockholm (Sweden), and...
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Introduction Cities have long been known to be society’s predominant engine of innovation and wealth creation, yet they are also hotspots of pollution and disease partly due to current urban and transport practices. The aim of the European Urban Burden of Disease project is to evaluate the health burden and its determinants related to current and f...
Conference Paper
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Prior studies show that the Built Environment (BE) can influence route and mode choice, increasing the uptake of active modes and reducing car dominance. One of the main challenges in establishing such relationships between the BE and travel behaviour is the unavailability of micro-scale BE data. This study presents a methodology for harmonising an...
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There is lack of literature on international comparison of gender differences in the use of active travel modes. We used population-representative travel surveys for 19 major cities across 13 countries and 6 continents, representing a mix of cites from low-and-middle income (n = 8) and high-income countries (n = 11). In all the cities, females are...
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Objectives Traffic speed is important to public health as it is a major contributory factor to collision risk and casualty severity. 20mph (32km/h) speed limit interventions are an increasingly common approach to address this transport and health challenge, but a more developed evidence base is needed to understand their effects. This study describ...
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Physical inactivity is increasing in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), where noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), urbanisation and sedentary living are rapidly growing in tandem. Increasing active living requires the participation of multiple sectors, yet it is unclear whether physical activity (PA)-relevant sectors in LMICs are prioritising PA...
Preprint
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A widely-used model for determining the long-term health impacts of public health interventions, often called a "multistate lifetable", requires estimates of incidence, case fatality, and sometimes also remission rates, for multiple diseases by age and gender. Generally, direct data on both incidence and case fatality are not available in every dis...
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Health impact simulation models are used to predict how a proposed policy or scenario will affect population health outcomes. These models represent the typically-complex systems that describe how the scenarios affect exposures to risk factors for disease or injury (e.g. air pollution or physical inactivity), and how these risk factors are related...
Article
Full-text available
Travel has individual, societal and planetary health implications. We explored socioeconomic and gendered differences in travel behaviour in Africa, to develop an understanding of travel-related inequity. We conducted a mixed-methods systematic review (PROSPERO CRD42019124802). In 2019, we searched MEDLINE, TRID, SCOPUS, Web of Science, LILACS, Sci...
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Non-technical summary We summarize some of the past year's most important findings within climate change-related research. New research has improved our understanding about the remaining options to achieve the Paris Agreement goals, through overcoming political barriers to carbon pricing, taking into account non-CO 2 factors, a well-designed implem...
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The World Health Organization (WHO) Global Action Plan on Physical Activity recommends adopting a systems approach to implementing and tailoring actions according to local contexts. We held group model-building workshops with key stakeholders in the Caribbean region to develop a causal loop diagram to describe the system driving the increasing phys...
Article
Introduction The Propensity to Cycle Tool (PCT) is a widely used free, open source and publicly available tool for modelling cycling uptake and corresponding health and carbon impacts in England and Wales. In this paper we present the methods for our new individual-level modelling representing all commuters in England and Wales. Methods Scenario c...
Article
Introduction Reductions in traffic speed can potentially offer multiple health and public health benefits. In 2016, implementation of 20mph (30kph) speed limit interventions began in Edinburgh (city-wide) and Belfast (city centre). The aims of this paper are to describe 1) the broad theoretical approach and design of two natural experimental studie...
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Background Health impact assessments of alternative travel patterns are urgently needed to inform transport and urban planning in African cities, but none exists so far. Objective To quantify the health impacts of changes in travel patterns in the Greater Accra Metropolitan Area, Ghana. Methods We estimated changes to population exposures to phys...
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The COVID-19 pandemic is causing mass disruption to our daily lives. We integrate mobility data from mobile devices and area-level data to study the walking patterns of 1.62 million anonymous users in 10 metropolitan areas in the United States. The data covers the period from mid-February 2020 (pre-lockdown) to late June 2020 (easing of lockdown re...
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International comparisons of cycling behaviour have typically been limited to high-income countries and often limited to the prevalence of cycling, with lack of discussions on demographic and trip characteristics. We used a combination of city, regional, and national travel surveys from 17 countries across the six continents, ranging from years 200...
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Introduction High quality evaluations of new walking and cycling routes are scarce and understanding contextual mechanisms influencing outcomes is limited. Using different types of data we investigate how context is associated with change in use of new and upgraded walking and cycling infrastructure, and the association between infrastructure use a...
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Introduction This paper analyses three years’ data from the People and Places longitudinal study. The study examines the travel behaviour impacts of major investments in active travel infrastructure in three Outer London boroughs (the ‘mini- Hollands programme’). Methods The People and Places survey, conducted annually in May-June, treats the mini...
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Background nationally determined contributions (NDCs) serve to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement of staying “well below 2°C”, which could also yield substantial health co-benefits in the process. However, existing NDC commitments are inadequate to achieve this goal. Placing health as a key focus of the NDCs could present an opportunity to incre...
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At the time of writing, it is unclear how the COVID-19 pandemic will play out in rapidly urbanising regions of the world. In these regions, the realities of large overcrowded informal settlements, a high burden of infectious and non-communicable diseases, as well as malnutrition and precarity of livelihoods, have raised added concerns about the pot...
Preprint
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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused mass disruption to our daily lives. Mobility restrictions implemented to reduce the spread of COVID-19 have impacted walking behavior, but the magnitude and spatio-temporal aspects of these changes have yet to be explored. Walking is the most common form of physical activity and non-motorized transport, and so has a...
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A major limitation of road injury research in low-and-middle income countries is the lack of consistent data across the settings, such as traffic counts, to measure traffic risk. This study presents a novel method in which traffic volume of heavy vehicles-trucks and buses-is estimated by identifying these vehicles from satellite imagery of Google E...
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Background: Modeling suggests that climate change mitigation actions can have substantial human health benefits that accrue quickly and locally. Documenting the benefits can help drive more ambitious and health-protective climate change mitigation actions; however, documenting the adverse health effects can help to avoid them. Estimating the health...
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The World Health Organization’s Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) for walking and cycling is a user-friendly web-based tool to assess the health impacts of active travel. HEAT, developed over 10 years ago, has been used by researchers, planners and policymakers alike in appraisals of walking and cycling policies at both national and more local...
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Background Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are the leading cause of death globally. While upstream approaches to tackle NCD risk factors of poor quality diets and physical inactivity have been trialled in high income countries (HICs), there is little evidence from low and middle-income countries (LMICs) that bear a disproportionate NCD burden. Sub...
Preprint
The World Health Organization’s Health Economic Assessment Tool (HEAT) for walking and cycling is a user-friendly web-based tool to assess health impacts of active travel. HEAT, developed over 10 years ago, has been used by researchers, planners and policymakers alike in appraisals of walking and cycling policies of both national and more local sca...
Preprint
Introduction: This paper analyses three years’ data from the People and Places longitudinal study. This study examines the travel behaviour impact of major investments in active travel infrastructure in three Outer London boroughs (the ‘mini-Hollands programme’).Methods: The People and Places survey, conducted annually in May-June, treats the mini-...
Conference Paper
Background Getting people cycling is an increasingly common objective in transport planning. A growing evidence base indicates that high quality infrastructure can boost cycling rates. Yet for measures to be effective, it is important to intervene in the right places. This creates the need for tools and methods to help answer the question ‘where to...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Background Physical inactivity is a growing problem, increasing risks of non-communicable disease. Changing the built environment, including the provision of walking and cycling infrastructure, can influence population levels of physical activity, but high quality evaluations of these interventions are scarce. We demonstrate how different types of...
Conference Paper
Background The City of Edinburgh implemented 20mph speed limits on most of the streets (an increase from 50% to 80%) in the city between April 2016 and March 2018. This paper is part of the research undertaken by the ‘Is Twenty Plenty for Health?’ project team which examines the impact of the 20mph speed limit policy in the City of Edinburgh. This...
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Quantifying traffic contribution to air pollution in urban settings is required to inform traffic management strategies and environmental policies that aim at improving air quality. Assessments and comparative analyses across multiple urban areas are challenged by the lack of datasets and methods available for global applications. In this study, we...
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Regular active commuting, such as cycling and walking to and from the workplace, is associated with lower all-cause mortality through increased physical activity (PA). However, active commuting may increase intake of fine particles (PM2.5), causing negative health effects. The purpose of this study is to estimate the combined risk of PA and air pol...
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Background Most analysis of road injuries examines the risk experienced by people using different modes of transport, for instance, pedestrian fatalities per-head or per-km. A small but growing field analyses the impact that the use of different transport modes has on other road users, for instance, injuries to others per-km driven. Methods This p...
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James Milner and colleagues argue that carefully considered policies to lower carbon emissions can also improve health, and we should use these benefits to push for strong climate action © Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to.
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CITY KNOW-HOW Worrying trends in terms of human health and planetary health are receiving increasing global concern. City leadership, planning and development all place the constraints on urban behaviours and lifestyles, usually accelerating the problems. It is imperative that human health and environmental impacts become core foci in urban policie...
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The transportation sector accounts for approximately 23% of the total energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions worldwide and 33% in the USA. At the same time, physical inactivity contributes to adverse health through non-communicable diseases. If policies can increase active transport (walking and cycling) and reduce car use, they could benefi...
Preprint
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Health impact simulation models are used to predict how a proposed intervention or scenario will affect public health outcomes, based on available data and knowledge of the process. The outputs of these models are uncertain due to uncertainty in the structure and inputs to the model. In order to assess the extent of uncertainty in the outcome we mu...
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Background: Associations between driving and physical-activity (PA) intensities are unclear, particularly among older adults. We estimated prospective associations of travel modes with total PA, sedentary time (ST), light-intensity PA (LPA), and moderate-to-vigorous intensity PA (MVPA) among adults aged 39-70 years. Methods: We studied 90 810 UK...
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Background The Propensity to Cycle Tool (PCT) is a freely available, interactive tool help prioritise cycling initially launched in England in 2017 and based on adult commuting data. This paper applies the method to travel to school data, and assesses health and carbon benefits based on nationwide scenarios of cycling uptake. Methods The 2011 Nati...
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Purpose: To estimate the strength and shape of the dose-response relationship between sedentary behaviour and all-cause, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cancer mortality, and incident type 2 diabetes (T2D), adjusted for physical activity (PA). Data Sources: Pubmed, Web of Knowledge, Medline, Embase, Cochrane Library and Google Scholar (through Se...