Transportation and Land Use as Social Determinants of Health: Analysis of Exposure to Traffic in the Denver Metropolitan Region

Transportation systems generate certain health-promoting benefits such as access to social, economic, and cultural resources, but they also are a source of air pollution, noise, safety hazards, and barriers that diminish social cohesion in neighborhoods. Streets, in particular, are among the most important forms of public space in cities, yet they also are a main source of exposure to the negative externalities of traffic. It is estimated that between 4 and 19 percent of the U.S. population lives close to high-traffic roads, depending on assumptions about distance and types of roadway. These proportions are higher for minority and low-income populations. Although the relationships between traffic exposure, race, and socio-economic status have been consistent and reproducible, they have also been spatially heterogeneous with limited investigation into the patterns or causes of the heterogeneity. Using spatially-explicit statistical techniques, the authors examined variation in residential exposure to traffic at regional and neighborhood levels with race and socio-economic status as variables of interest. The authors found that minority and lower socio-economic status are systematically linked to higher exposure to traffic in Denver, Colorado at both regional- and neighborhood-level scales.

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • This document was sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation, University Transportation Centers Program.
  • Corporate Authors:

    Mountain-Plains Consortium

    North Dakota State University
    Fargo, ND  United States  58108

    University of Colorado, Denver

    Department of Urban and Regional Planning
    Denver, CO  United States 

    Research and Innovative Technology Administration

    University Transportation Centers Program
    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Authors:
    • McAndrews, Carolyn
    • Rosenlieb, Evan G
    • Troy, Austin
    • Marshall, Wesley E
  • Publication Date: 2017-6


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: Appendices; Figures; Maps; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 38p

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01641069
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: MPC 17-326
  • Created Date: Jul 17 2017 9:32AM