Transportation and Health

As a determinant of health, how transportation systems are planned and designed have far-reaching consequences on individual and community health. The fact that an individual's zip code better predicts their health than their genetic code demonstrates the power that transportation and land use have on well-being. The choice of transportation modes that people have access to often dictates whether they will be actively moving for a significant part of the day (e.g., walking, biking) or engaging in more sedentary forms of travel (e.g., driving). Transportation options can also dictate the level of access to health support facilities such as hospitals and clinics, public recreational facilities, and even such proximity to daily essentials such as fresh produce and other food resources.


The Transportation and Health Standing Committee has developed several technical products that explain the relationship between transportation and health as well as provide recommended solutions for improving health outcomes. The Quick Bite Transportation as a Determinant of Health describes the Social Determinants of Health framework and the pathways by which transportation affects health. In addition, it offers some specific ways that transportation practitioners can support healthy communities. Another Quick Bite, Health and Co-Benefits of Active Transportation, describes the health, economic, and environmental benefits of active transportation as well as features of the built environment that encourage active travel. The various ways that transportation affects mental health is described in the Quick Bite, Transportation for Mental Health and Happiness. In the full resource list, you’ll also find ITE resources like ITE Journal articles about improving arterial roads to support public health and a vignette on How Transportation Touches Health.


In addition, the Transportation and Health Standing Committee has built a Transportation and Health Resource Hub, which is a collection of previously-published resources that address health concerns in transportation plans, projects, and programs. By creating a central place for a wide variety of resources—from case studies to research reports—the goal is to give practitioners the resources they need to integrate health into their work.


The Transportation and Health Standing Committee has also developed a number of webinars on a range of topics, such as: Linking health indicators in transportation; Urban Heat Islands (UHI): How Transportation Contributes to the UHI Effect and Solutions for Cooling Cities; and Delivering Health Equity Through Transit: What’s Next? (in partnership with the Transit Standing Committee).

Featured Resources