Transportation and Health


Transportation provides the means to move about our communities, and reliable transportation is a vital community condition for health and well-being. People need safe, accessible, affordable transportation to go about their daily lives. Transportation has significant implications for public health; it affects physical activity levels, air quality, access to healthcare, road safety, social connectedness, and more. Physical inactivity is a leading risk factor for global mortality, while air pollution from transportation contributes to millions of premature deaths annually. People who live in areas with limited public transit, or who are reliant on cars for transportation, may have less access to healthy food options and increased risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

Evidence Base

Transportation Safety
Transportation System
Public Transportation
Active Transportation
Improvements that promote safe streets and transportation systems (e.g., traffic calming, reduced speeds, safe crossings, and bus stops), along with promotion of safe driving behaviors (e.g., not driving while impaired, no distracted driving, wearing a seatbelt) result in fewer injuries and fatalities.
Transportation systems that are well-connected, accessible to those of all abilities, and provide for all modes (cars, transit, bikes) are better able to meet the needs of all people regardless of age, ability, and mode.
Public transportation that is accessible, safe, and affordable ensures that all people are able to get where they need to go.
Bicycle, pedestrian, and transit infrastructure that is complete (e.g., sidewalks and bike lanes), accessible (e.g., considers mobility for all, curb cuts), and safe (e.g., safe crossings, protected bike lanes) ensures a multi-modal transportation system that prioritizes health, well-being and safety.
Decreased transportation-related injuries and deaths
Improved connectivity, accessibility, and mobility
Increased community access to transit services and improved mobility
Improved accessibility and mobility for transit-dependent populations
Improved air quality and reduced GHG emissions
Increased physical activity and reduced chronic disease

Decreased pedestrian and cyclist injuries and deaths

HIAs in Transportation

HIAs can be used to improve the reliable transportation, a vital community condition, through informing transportation policies, plans, and investments. Transportation-related HIAs focus on both projects and policies.

Projects include: redevelopments, bridge replacements, public transit, road diets, rail and bus public transit projects, community transportation plans, pedestrian and bicycle trails and greenways, and port redevelopments.
Policies include: road congestion pricing, speed limits, complete streets, vehicles miles traveled, climate change, transit fares and service levels, speed limits, safe routes to schools, and airport procedures.


Environmental Decisions in New Mexico

Conservation Voters New Mexico Education Fund (CVNMEF) conducted an HIA to examine how switching from diesel to electric school buses could affect the health of...

Wichita Transit System

The Kansas Health Institute and the University of Kansas School of Medicine – Wichita conducted a health impact assessment (HIA) to inform a Wichita City ...

More Related Resources


Vital Conditions


Priority Populations

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