Public Health and Equity Principles for Transportation

Research increasingly indicates that current transportation investments can have a profound impact on public health for the poor, the elderly, people with disabilities and other vulnerable populations. These impacts may include increased risk of obesity, cancer, mental health disorders, asthma and heart disease. The public health community is strongly supportive of transportation investments that support the growth and establishment of health and equity in all communities; this is critical to the nation’s economic revival and health.

The public health community envisions a transportation system that is carefully designed to support and improve community health. We must ensure that the billions of public dollars spent on transportation projects enhance the health, equity and well-being of communities.

APHA and its partners developed these ten principles, so that transportation policies may be reviewed with these principles in mind to ensure that health and equity are well-represented. We seek transportation policies that prioritize health and equity by (in no specific ranking):

  1. Encouraging transportation and land-use planning policies, such as a complete streets policy, that support healthy communities.
  2. Establishing performance measures to promote safe, affordable and equitable public transit and alternative modes of transportation such as walking and cycling.
  3. Using health impact assessments to inform and guide transportation policy, projects and planning.
  4. Fostering the participation of local communities and underserved populations in all stages of the transportation planning and development process.
  5. Expanding the funding of community-based transportation programs and services that promote health and provide access to healthy food and water, affordable housing, employment, schools, health care and recreation.
  6. Funding programs that expand transportation options for disadvantaged populations and people with disabilities, and that promote safe, convenient transportation options for children and seniors.
  7. Designing and constructing multi-modal transportation systems within each state and metropolitan area to meet the needs of users of all ages and abilities, including those in rural areas.
  8. Collecting data and funding research to evaluate how transportation and planning policies affect public health and health equity.
  9. Supporting reductions in transportation-related emissions and greenhouse gases.
  10. Increasing vehicle, motorist, passenger, cyclist and pedestrian safety.

Supporting Organizations

National Organizations

Alliance for Biking & Walking

America Bikes

America Walks

American Heart Association/American Stroke Association 

American Public Health Association

Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals

Association of State and Territorial Health Officials

Community Transportation Association of America

Easter Seals

Gamaliel Foundation

Human Impact Partners

Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies 

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

National Association of Chronic Disease Directors

National Association of County and City Health Officials 

National Complete Streets Coalition

National Organizations for Youth Safety

Partnership for Prevention 

Prevention Institute  

Safe Routes to School National Partnership 

Safe States Alliance

Transportation Equity Network

Transportation for America

Trust for America’s Health 

State and Regional Organizations

Active Transportation Alliance (IL)

California WALKS

Childhood Obesity Prevention Coalition (WA)

Health Planning Council of Northeast Florida

Idaho Pedestrian & Bicycle Alliance

Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition 

Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO)

North Central Texas Council of Governments

Oregon Public Health Institute   

PedNet Coalition (MO)

TransForm (CA)

Upstream Public Health (OR)

Vermont Public Health Association

 Women's Transportation Seminar - Hampton Roads Chapter (VA)