Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
How is FHWA supporting health in transportation?
FHWA is working to better understand and address health effects of transportation plans and systems. FHWA programs, initiatives, and research activities address health-related issues at many different points throughout the project development process. FHWA regulations and policies promote practices and procedures that address both negative and positive health outcomes.
FHWA also funds a number of research activities address the intersection of health and transportation, including a white paper that identifies an integrated and flexible approach that can help metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and their partners take a holistic approach to health in the transportation planning process.
The report, "Metropolitan Area Transportation Planning for Healthy Communities," applies research from four case studies to develop a framework that stakeholders can use to approach health successfully within metropolitan area transportation planning. A second will look at how State Departments of Transportation (DOTs) are including health in their planning activities.
Does FHWA have any staff dedicated to health in transportation?
Yes. In 2012, FHWA established the Health and Transportation Working Group to explore how the agency can address health issues and requests, and work better with the public health community. The group's members include several FHWA offices, including the FHWA Resource Center and Federal Lands.
What other ways is FHWA working on health in transportation?
FHWA is working alongside the Office of the Secretary of Transportation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Public Health Association and others to develop an on line Health Evaluation Tool that MPOs and State DOTs can use evaluate how health is integrated into their transportation programs and projects.
Are there other transportation and health activity to be aware of?
Yes. The Transportation Research Board has a Subcommittee on Health and Transportation. The co-sponsoring Committees for this subcommittee are Environmental Justice in Transportation (ADD50), Transportation and Sustainability (ADD40), Travel Behavior and Values (ADB10) and Urban Data and Information Systems (ABJ30).
The mission of the Health and Transportation Subcommittee is "to identify, advance and publish research and information to expand and improve current understanding and evaluation of the health impacts of federal, state, regional and local transportation policies, procedures and actions.
The committee's members include FHWA and Federal Transit Administration staff members as well as staff from other agencies. The committee will meet at TRB's Annual Meeting in January 2013.
How does livability play into planning for healthy communities?
Livability is a key component at improving health for communities, things like more active transportation and better access to health providers has be well documented in the work of The Partnership for Sustainable Communities , a partnership among the U .S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), DOT, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to help communities nationwide improve access to affordable housing, increase transportation options, and lower transportation costs while protecting the environment.
How does MAP-21 address transportation and health?
Although the highway bill, Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century (MAP-21) doesn't explicitly identify health as part of the transportation planning process, some provisions can be used to improve the overall health of a community.
MAP-21 provides eligibility for activities that support health such as pedestrian, bicycle and non-motorized transportation, highway and transit safety, safe routes to school, recreational trails, transportation enhancements activities, environmental mitigation, congestion mitigation and air quality improvement programs.
While health is not included in planning requirements, FHWA encourages DOTs and MPOs to take a holistic approach to health in the planning process.
How can I get involved?
In October 2012, FHWA hosted a webinar on planning for healthy communities and we are planning several more in the upcoming year.