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. 

Building Healthy and Prosperous Communities: How Metro Areas are Building More and Better Bicycling and Walking Projects

Over the last two years, Transportation for America, in conjunction with the APHA, worked with metropolitan planning organizations across the country to collect and document stories about how they are planning, funding, and building more and better walking and bicycling projects. Check out the guidebook Building Healthy and Prosperous Communities: How Metro Areas are Building More and Better Bicycling and Walking Projects.

Working with Metropolitan Planning Organizations

Ever wondered what a Metropolitan Planning Organization was and how to work with one? Check out our latest guide (PDF) outlining the core responsibilities of an MPO and how to partner with them to advance healthy communities. 

If you are interested in learning more about past work highlighting MPO efforts, check out this set of case studies and policy paper authored by Transportation for America, with support from APHA.

Transportation and Health Tool Case Studies

APHA recently released five case studies that provide valuable insight into opportunities to advance health on both state and regional levels. The case studies feature organizations using the Transportation and Health Tool indicators to:

Want to learn more about the Transportation and Health Tool? Read an article in the Journal of Transport & Health about the Transportation and Health Tool. You can also listen to the Incorporating Health in Transportation Decisions webinar to learn more about how practitioners are using the Transportation and Health Tool (hosted by APHA with support from CDC). 

Safety Study: National Transportation Safety Board: Reducing Speeding-Related Crashes Involving Passenger Vehicles

Measuring what we value: Prioritizing public health to build prosperous regions

A set of case studies released by Transportation for America, with support from APHA, showcases a range of strategies that metro area planning agencies can use to strengthen the local economy, improve public health outcomes for all of their residents, promote social equity and better protect the environment. In addition to the case studies, a policy paper outlines four policy levers that metropolitan planning organizations have at their disposal to help increase and improve active transportation projects.


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