How Does Transportation Affect Public Health?

Transportation systems can have a major influence on public health. Due to high levels of obesity in the United States, exercise, including “active transportation,” can help prevent health risks. When transportation infrastructure is designed to accommodate or encourage non-motorized transport, it can have positive effects on health. The costs of medical care and lost productivity due to motor vehicle crashes is high, and transportation is a source of air pollution. In answer to this, many people in the transportation field are collaborating with those in public health to research topics such as air pollution, safety, and physical activity. This article examines case studies from metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) and states across the country where new initiatives are being introduced due to the collaboration between the fields of transportation and public health. The MPOs in a number of cities have developed projects focusing on active transportation, air quality improvements, and access to public transportation. At the state level, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and North Carolina have all implemented plans to improve public health. Additionally, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) has established a working group to explore how the agency addresses health-related issues. The FHWA has no formal policy on health, but it recognizes that public health is an important part of transportation planning.


  • English

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01488543
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 31 2013 7:55AM