The Hidden Health Costs of Transportation

Source: American Public Health Association and Urban Design 4 Health, Inc. for Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

This report outlines how the connection between health and the built environment impacts the pocketbook; it also provides a summary of the process of planning, funding and building transportation systems, and discusses key opportunities for public health professionals to get involved in the process.

The health impacts of transportation investment involve costs and benefits that are often unaccounted for in the current system of transportation planning and funding. These costs and benefits can be personal—for example, the weight loss that occurs when one moves to an area where it is easy and pleasant to walk and bicycle or to take transit to work may mean fewer, and less costly, visits to the doctor. Costs can also be societal—the health impacts of physical inactivity increase the costs of health care for everyone, not just those who aren't getting enough exercise.

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