Health Equity and Transportation Resources

Transportation is a social determinant that can play a major role in influencing people's health and sense of well-being. Access to adequate transportation options can increase physical activity, reduce streets and help increase family economic security.

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Resources: General

1. CDC Recommendations for Improving Health through Transportation Policy (2010):

2. Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity (2009): Offers specific guidelines and research studies that support these health policy recommendations. 

3. Incorporating Health Objectives into Transit Planning. (Todd Litman of VTPI, 2010):

4. Transportation RX: The Transportation Prescription: Bold New Ideas for Healthy, Equitable Transportation Reform in America (Convergence Partnership, 2009) -- Healthy, Equitable Transportation Policy: Recommendations and Research In an effort to further illuminate the opportunities and barriers transportation policy creates for building healthy communities, PolicyLink and Prevention Institute published an edited volume with details and depth into the intersection of transportation, equity and health. The publication is composed of chapters written by leading academics and advocates from across the nation covering topics from public transportation, walking and bicycling, to safety and economic development. The book highlights key policy solutions and provides background on the federal surface transportation policy.

5. Housing and Transportation Affordability Index. Americans traditionally consider housing affordable if it costs 30 percent or less of their income. The Housing + Transportation Affordability Index, in contrast, offers the true cost of housing based on its location by measuring the transportation costs associated with place.

6. American Public Health Association (APHA): Transportation Issues from the Public Health Perspective Transportation decisions affect our individual lives, economy and health. Everyone needs to use various modes of transportation to get to work or school, to get medical attention, to access healthy foods at grocery stores and markets, and to participate in countless other activities every day. However, too many people are negatively impacted by inequitable transportation decisions that are detrimental to public health.

7. Upstream Public Health Transportation Health Equity Principles

8. Tactical Urbanism Guide

9. European Union: Role of transportation research in fighting social exclusion:

10. PolicyLink: Health, Equity and Transportation Policy Summary:

Resources: Cycling and Walking

1. APBP Survey of Women Cyclists, 2010: According to an analysis by Anna Sibley, MPH Candidate at UNC-Greensboro, the top two safety concerns of women surveyed were distracted driving and the speed of cars. The interventions most likely to get women to start biking or to bike more were bike lanes and off road cycle paths. Conclusion: "Despite the difference in cycling behaviors due to community size, safety and infrastructure concerns were prevalent in nearly all subgroups. The operation of motorized vehicles, (especially distracted driving) dominate women’s safety concerns about cycling. Furthermore, infrastructure change, particularly the addition of more bike lanes, appears to be a primary factor for increasing women’s cycling. Though these findings warrant additional qualitative research, it is likely that intervention planning to promote cycling as a form of daily transportation needs to address the issues of distracted driving and the addition of more bike lanes." A related article explains why female cyclists are the "indicator species" of a cycle-friendly community:

2. NYC Department of Transportation Says New Brooklyn Bike Lane Dramatically Reduces Speeding, Sidewalk Bicycling: A city DOT spokesperson said today that preliminary data shows that BEFORE the bike lane, three out of four cars on Prospect Park West were speeding. The agency says that number has dropped to one in seven. And the DOT says almost half of all cyclists used to ride on the sidewalk. That number has decreased to four percent.

3. San Francisco Department of Public Health, Program on Transportation and Health: - Resource on transportation's impact on health, transportation justice, and pedestrian environmental quality impact assessment.

4. Walk this Way: Making walking easier and safer in London (October 2010, London Assembly Transport Committee) - UK report on measures need to make walking more accessible. Study shows 60% of London residents say they don't walk more due to the poor quality of local streets and crosswalk infrastructure.

5. Pedestrian Plan for Philadelphia: The plan establishes five over-arching goals: Improving safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. Encouraging biking and walking to promote better health and boost revenue for businesses in walkable, bikeable neighborhoods. Promote sidewalks and streets as enjoyable public space. Filling in the gaps between existing biking and walking networks. Garnering recognition for Philadelphia as a great city for cyclists and pedestrians.

6. Research paper on Health Benefits of Cycling "Do the Health Benefits of Cycling Outweigh the Risks?"(Environmental Health Perspectives August 2010):

7. Alliance for Biking and Walking Benchmarking Report project: The U.S. Bicycling and Walking Benchmarking Project is an on-going effort from the Alliance for Biking & Walking to collect and analyze data on bicycling and walking in all 50 states and at least the 50 most-populated U.S. cities.

Resources: Mass Transit and Health

1. Why Public Transportation is Good for Kids (Grist, 11/1/10)