Office of Planning, Environment, & Realty (HEP)
Everyone benefits from using roadways, streets, sidewalks, trails and public transit for everyday needs, whether for traveling to and from work, school and play or accessing basic necessities, such as health services and grocery stores. At the same time, too many people are negatively impacted by our transportation systems, from increased air pollution to a lack of safe places to walk, bike and engage in physical activity without unnecessary risk.
For a long time, public health impacts and benefits were too often overlooked in transportation policy, program and funding decisions. That has begun to change. Many state officials and metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) have begun including public health goals and health criteria in transportation planning and policies as well as within the transportation project selection process. And the public health community has begun to partner with the transportation sector to integrate health considerations in transportation work.
Transportation decision-makers face enormous budget pressure, so investments that pay off in public health can bring additional community benefits. That means understanding all the issues in play, and then determining what is working well and what needs improvement in a world of limited resources.
To this end, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) are partnering to develop a simple-to-use transportation and health tool (THT). Now, for the first time, it is possible for transportation decision-makers to understand how their community or state compares to their peers in terms of key health and transportation indicators.
Through a rigorous process, including extensive work with an expert panel, several transportation and health indicators have been selected for use in the THT. This tool is designed to be a useful resource for transportation decision-makers around the country, providing an overview and a key perspective on how their decisions impact the health of the communities they serve.
The THT is under development with an anticipated online launch in 2015.