Marko Tainio

MarkoTanioFeb16-2 Senior Research Associate (Health Impact Assessment)

UKCRC Centre for Diet and Activity Research (CEDAR)
MRC Epidemiology Unit
University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine
Box 285 Institute of Metabolic Science
Cambridge Biomedical Campus
Cambridge, CB2 0QQ

Research area and background

Marko Tainio studies the linkage between policies and public health using Health Impact Assessment (HIA) modelling methods, with special interest in interactions between air pollution and physical activity. Since joining the CEDAR/MRC Epidemiology Unit in autumn 2013 he has focused on active transport (walking, cycling) and how increases in cycling and walking will impact health when physical activity, air pollution and injury risks are combined. This research has included further development of the Integrated Transport and Health Impact Modelling Tool (ITHIM), developed originally by Dr James Woodcock. Earlier Marko has studied health effects of air pollution (especially fine particulate matter, PM2.5) and other environmental health factors.

Before joining CEDAR Marko was Assistant Professor in the Systems Research Institute, Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland (2009-2013) and researcher in the National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL), Finland (2002-2011). In summer 2006 he participated Young Scientist Summer Program (YSSP) on the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Laxenburg, Austria (2006). During his studies he was an exchange student in the Wageningen University, the Netherlands.


Key methods:

Health Impact Assessment, Public Health Modelling, Integrated assessment, System Analysis, Monte-Carlo simulation, Intake fraction (iF), Risk Assessment, Risk Analysis, Comparative Risk Assessment (CRA), Life-Table, Multistate Life Table (MSLT), Disability-adjusted life-years (DALY), Elicitation of expert opinion.

Pathways/risk factors:

Air pollution (especially fine particulate matter, PM2.5), physical activity, sedentary behaviour, diet, traffic injuries, noise.

Computer tools:

Analytica, R.


Docent (Environmental Health Impact Assessment, University of Eastern Finland, Finland), PhD (Environmental Health, University of Eastern Finland, Finland), MSc (Environmental Science, University of Eastern Finland, Finland).


  • All models are wrong but some are useful.” According to Wikipedia first published by George Box in his 1976 paper in the Journal of the American Statistical Association.
  • An approximate answer to the right question is worth a great deal more than a precise answer to the wrong question.” John Tukey. First (?) published in The future of data analysis article.
  • Simplicity is resolved complexity.” Constantin Brancusi, Romanian sculptor, painter and photographer. Source mentioned e.g. here.
  • Statisticians, like artists, have the bad habit of falling in love with their models.” George Box (reference unknown).

Professional social media cites

 Current and recent grants

  • 2017-2020: Co-investigator in project “The MEthods and Tools for Assessing the Health Impacts of Transport: modelling study (METAHIT)“. Funded by Medical Research Council (MRC), Methodology Research Programme, UK (MR/P02663X/1). Research grant. £419 519. Duration 36 months. PI James Woodcock.
  • 2017-2019: Co-investigator in project “Towards an Integrated Global Transport and Health Assessment Tool (TIGTHAT)“. Funded by Medical Research Council (MRC) Global Challenges Research Fund, UK (number: RG87632-SJ). Research Grant. £420 000. Duration: 24 months. PI James Woodcock.
  • 2015-2017: Co-applicant in project “Comprehensive resource efficiency model for urban structure (WHOLE) (in Finnish: Kaupunkirakenteen kokonaisvaltainen resurssitehokkuusmalli)“. Funded by Prime Minister’s office (Finland). Government Analysis, Assessment and Research Activities project. 300 000 EUR. Duration 20 months. PI Panu Lehtovuori.
  • 2012-2014: Principal investigator in project “Environmental Health Effects of Local Transportation in Warsaw“. Duration: 24 months. Funded by: Ministry of Science and Higher Education, Poland.
  • 2009-2013: Principal investigator of Warsaw work package in project “Transportation, air pollution and physical activities; an integrated health risk assessment programme of climate change and urban policies (TAPAS)“. Duration: 48 months. Funded by: Coca Cola Foundation. PI Mark J Nieuwenhuijsen.


 Selected key publications (from newest to oldest):

  1. Iwińska K, Blicharska M, Pierotti L, Tainio M, de Nazelle A. (2018). Cycling in Warsaw, Poland – Perceived enablers and barriers according to cyclists and non-cyclists. Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice Volume 113, 291-301.
  2. Holnicki P, Kałuszko A, Nahorski Z, Tainio M. (In press). Intra-urban variability of the intake fraction from multiple emission sources. Atmospheric Pollution Research.
  3. Patterson R, McNamara E, Tainio M, de Sá TH, Smith AD, Sharp SJ, Edwards P, Woodcock J, Brage S, Wijndaele K. (2018). Sedentary behaviour and risk of all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality, and incident type 2 diabetes: a systematic review and dose response meta-analysis. European Journal of Epidemiology.
  4. Zapata-Diomedi B, Knibbs LD, Ware RS, Heesch KC, Tainio M, Woodcock J, Veerman JL. (2017). A shift from motorised travel to active transport: What are the potential health gains for an Australian city? Plos one 12(10): e0184799. Doi:
  5. de Sá TH, Tainio M, Goodman A, Edwards P, Haines A, Gouveia N, Monteiro CA, Woodcock J. (2017). The São Paulo we want? Health impact modelling of different travel patterns for São Paulo, Brazil. Environment International 108: 22–31. Doi:
  6. Tainio M, Monsivais P, Jones NRV, Brand C, Woodcock J. (2017). Mortality, greenhouse gas emissions and consumer cost impacts of combined diet and physical activity scenarios: a health impact assessment study. BMJ Open 2017; 7:e014199. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2016-014199.
  7. Mytton OT, Tainio M, Ogilvie D, Panter J, Cobiac L, Woodcock J. (2017). The modelled impact of increases in physical activity: the effect of both increased survival and reduced incidence of disease. European Journal of Epidemiology 2017 Mar 3. doi: 10.1007/s10654-017-0235-1.
  8. Kwan SC, Tainio M, Woodcock J, Sutan R, Hashim JH. (2017). The carbon savings and health co-benefits from the introduction of mass rapid transit system in Greater Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Journal of Transport & Health.
  9. Tainio M, de Nazelle AJ, Götschi T, Kahlmeier S, Rojas-Rueda D, Nieuwenhuijsen MJ, de Sá TH, Kelly P, Woodcock J. (2016). Can air pollution negate the health benefits of cycling and walking? Preventive Medicine.
  10. Rojas-Rueda D., de Nazelle A., Andersen Z.J., Braun- Fahrländer C., Bruha J., Bruhova-Foltynova H., Desqueyroux H., Praznoczy C., Ragettli S.M., Tainio M., Nieuwenhuijsen M. (2016). Health impacts of active transportation in Europe. Plos one 11(3): 1-14.
  11. Tainio M. (2015). Burden of disease caused by local transport in Warsaw, Poland. Journal of Transport & Health.
  12. Götschi T., Tainio M., Maizlish N., Schwanen T., Goodman A., Woodcock J. (2015). Contrasts in active transport behaviour across four countries: How do they translate into public health benefits? Preventive Medicine 74: 42–48.
  13. Tainio M., Olkowicz D., Teresiński G., de Nazelle A., Nieuwenhuijsen M.J. (2014). Severity of injuries in different modes of transport, expressed with disability-adjusted life years (DALYs). BMC Public Health 14: 765.
  14. Woodcock J., Tainio M., Cheshire J., O’Brien O., Goodman A. (submitted). Modelled health impacts of the London bicycle sharing system. British Medical Journal 348:g425.
  15. Tainio M., Juda-Rezler K., Reizer M., Warchałowski A., Trapp W., Skotak K. (2013). Future climate and adverse health effects caused by fine particulate matter air pollution: Case study for Poland. Regional Environmental Change 13 (3): 705-715.
  16. Taimisto P., Tainio M., Karvosenoja N., Kupiainen K., Porvari P., Karppinen A., Kangas L., Kukkonen J., Tuomisto J.T. (2011). Evaluation of intake fractions for different subpopulations due to primary fine particulate matter (PM2.5) emitted from domestic wood combustion and traffic in Finland. Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health 4 (3-4): 199-209.
  17. Rojas-Rueda D., de Nazelle A., Tainio M., Nieuwenhuijsen M. (2011). The health risks and benefits of cycling in urban environments compared with car use: health impact assessment study. British Medical Journal 343: d4521.
  18. Tainio M. Tuomisto J.T., Pekkanen J, Karvosenoja N., Kupiainen K., Porvari P., Sofiev M., Karppinen A., Kangas L., Kukkonen J. (2010). Uncertainty in health risks due to anthropogenic primary fine particulate matter from different source types in Finland. Atmospheric Environment 44 (17): 2125-2132.
  19. Tainio M., Sofiev M., Hujo M., Tuomisto J.T., Loh M., Jantunen M.J., Karppinen A., Kangas L., Karvosenoja N., Kupiainen K., Porvari P., Kukkonen J. (2009). Evaluation of the European population intake fractions for European and Finnish anthropogenic primary fine particulate matter emissions. Atmospheric Environment 43 (19): 3052-3059.
  20. Leino O, Tainio M., Tuomisto JT. (2008). Comparative risk analysis of dioxins in fish and fine particles from heavy-duty vehicles. Risk Analysis 28 (1):127-140.
  21. Tuomisto J.T., Wilson A., Evans J.S., Tainio M. (2008). Uncertainty in mortality response to airborne fine particulate matter: Combining European air pollution experts. Reliability Engineering and System Safety 93: 732–744.
  22. Tainio M., Tuomisto J.T., Hanninen O., Ruuskanen J., Jantunen M.J., Pekkanen J. (2007). Parameter and model uncertainty in a life-table model for fine particles (PM2.5): a statistical modeling study. Environmental Health 6 (24).
  23. Tainio M., Tuomisto J.T., Hänninen O., Aarnio P., Jantunen M., Pekkanen J. (2005). Health effects caused by primary fine particulate matter (PM2.5) emitted from busses in Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Finland. Risk Analysis 25 (1): 151-160.
  24. Tuomisto J.T., Tainio M. (2005). An economic way of reducing health, environmental, and other pressures of urban traffic: a decision analysis on trip aggregation. BMC Public Health 5:123.
  25. Tuomisto J.T., Tuomisto J., Tainio M., Niittynen M., Verkasalo P., Vartiainen T., Kiviranta H., Pekkanen J. (2004). Risk-benefit analysis of eating farmed salmon. Science 305 (5683): 476-476.