Transportation and Health

Three female pedestrians crossing a street.Transportation decisions that take place upstream affect our lives downstream. We all use various ways to get to work or school, to access healthy foods and to do countless other things every day. Yet poor transportation decisions can harm health and are not always fair across all communities.

For example, communities near a highway or major roadway are often low-income and communities of color. Living near a highway or major roadway increases a person's exposure to traffic-related air pollution. Traffic-related air pollution is linked to respiratory conditions like wheezing and decreased lung functioning and also cardiovascular disease. Long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution is linked to childhood asthma.

APHA speaks out for transportation policy that improves, rather than hinders, public health. We believe in working with the transportation sector to create equitable and healthy transportation policies. The resources on this page give more information on the link between public health, equity and transportation.

Transportation and Health Tool

Check out the new Transportation and Health Tool! The U.S. Department of Transportation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with support from APHA, partnered to create a simple-to-use Transportation and Health Tool, or THT. The tool shows how a specific geographic area is performing in terms of health and transportation. And the tool gives transportation officials and policymakers recommendations on how to use the proposed strategies, interventions and policies to improve health outcomes in their own community. Learn more about the THT, and assess your own community!

Listen to the Transportation and Health Tool: Demonstrating health impacts of transportation decisions webinar (hosted by APHA with support from CDC).

View the webinar slides: Tegan Boehmer, Ann Steedly (PDF)  

Have you used the Transportation and Health Tool?

We are evaluating the Transportation and Health Tool to learn more about how people are using the tool and gain a better understanding of user satisfaction. We will use what we learn from these interviews to guide future improvements to the tool. Please email Kate Robb if you are interested in being interviewed to share your feedback!

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