Blog

Opportunities for Integrating Health into Transportation*

Date: October 24, 2018

* This Blog post was adapted from the project Abstract page available at: https://www.tac-atc.ca/en/projects/progress/strategic-opportunities-integrating-health-and-transportation

Transportation systems have traditionally been designed for the movement of people and goods, with a focus on the use of motorized vehicles. This has a major impact on the way Canadians travel on a daily basis, and can increase the risk of numerous negative health outcomes, such as obesity, injury, stress, respiratory and other chronic diseases.

When transportation systems focus on public & active transportation, physical activity can be integrated into daily life and a reduction in traffic congestion & greenhouse gas emissions can result. This can not only improve health outcomes and status, but also increase productivity and sustainability.

Thankfully, the paradigm has begun to shift towards health-promoting transportation systems and environments. The link between health and transportation system planning has already been recognized in a number of studies promoting the potential health benefits of modes such as active (human propelled) transportation like walking and cycling. Health elements are also beginning to be considered in a wide range of local, regional and provincial transportation strategies, plans and guidelines. Yet, there are opportunities to further build health considerations into transportation policy, planning, design and investment decisions.

As a result, the Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) has a project to assess the potential integration of health in transportation, and is currently seeking input from individuals across Canada working in diverse agencies, organizations and levels of government within the health and/or transportation fields. An online survey and phone interviews have already been conducted, through which they have received extensive feedback. They are also creating an inventory, assessing & identifying gaps, and recommending improvements to strengthen the integration of health in existing transportation policies, guidelines, and planning tools across Canada.

Among the project objectives are:

• Review existing tools, guidelines & practices and identify opportunities to further strengthen understanding & application of health considerations into transportation planning, design and decision making.

• Prepare a health benefits case from a transportation perspective, which includes identification of how health is supported and/or impacted by different modes of transportation.

• Explore various means by which health considerations can be integrated into transportation planning, design and decision making and identify gaps in current tools and practices.

• Determine how health impacts (including those relating to air quality & noise) are integrated into and/or supported by various Canadian transportation manuals and guidelines.

• Suggest measures to strengthen integration between health & transportation where gaps exist, and recommend changes to practices & tools that may be adopted/adapted by Canadian provinces/communities of different sizes/regions.

The tasks being undertaken to accomplish these project objectives include:

• Review best practices of various jurisdictions and/or organizations in addressing health implications associated with transportation.

• Develop recommendations/guidelines to address identified gaps and strengthen integration between health & transportation.

• Consult with health and transportation professionals to advance this initiative.

If you would like to receive information on the research gathered to date, as well as provide your input into the draft recommendations for next steps to better integrate health and transportation, then please register for one of the following two webinar dates (by clicking on a hyperlink below):

Thursday, November 1, 2018 at 1 pm EST

OR

Tuesday, November 6, 2018 at 2 pm EST

Note: Please only register for one webinar, as it is the same webinar being held twice (on two different dates)!

For more information on the project please visit: https://www.tac-atc.ca/en/projects/progress/strategic-opportunities-integrating-health-and-transportation