Support for
has been provided by these organizations and individuals:

John Hennessy III,

Getting Involved in Transportation Planning: An Overview for Public Health Advocates

Posted by Content Coordinator on Friday, September 2nd, 2011


Why should public health professionals be involved in transportation planning?

Because the way our roads and public transit systems are designed has a lot to do with our health: it influences how much exercise we get, our exposure to noise and air pollution, our risk of getting into traffic accidents, and more. This fact sheet discusses the important link between transportation planning and health, describes the key players and processes of local and regional transportation planning, and suggests steps you can take to advocate effectively for healthier transportation policies.

What is Transportation Planning?

While transportation planning has long centered around the concept of “mobility” (moving people from place to place), recent focus has begun shifting to “access,” or ensuring that people can easily reach jobs, education, and other daily needs. Transportation planners design our streets and sidewalks, highways, and public transit networks. Agency decisions are made at all levels, from the city to the federal government.

Their choices have a significant impact on chronic disease rates, air quality, and equitable access to services and economic opportunities. Transportation planning decisions can help improve residents’ health by promoting bicycling and walking, focusing on access to food shopping and other daily needs (especially for vulnerable populations such as low-income, elderly, and disabled), and conceiving of neighborhoods as destinations rather than funnels for cars and other vehicles.

Transportation planning funds come from the federal government and state, regional, and local agencies. During the 1950s and ’60s, when the majority of our interstate highway system was built, state and federal gasoline taxes were sufficient to cover the full costs of road construction. But gas taxes have not kept pace with inflation, forcing local and regional governments to seek other sources of funding, such as bonds or local taxes, to maintain and expand transportation systems.

In more urbanized areas, local governments have been able to create more funding sources to meet transportation goals. Only a third of the Bay Area’s transportation budget, for example, comes from the federal and state government combined. By contrast, in rural communities, where local and regional agencies issue fewer taxes and bonds, federal and state government funding may account for as much as two-thirds of the budget for transportation spending.

Download the full version (PDF): Getting Involved in Transportation Planning: An Overview for Public Health Advocates

About Transform
TransForm works to create world-class public transportation and walkable communities in the Bay Area and beyond.

We build diverse coalitions, influence policy, and develop innovative programs to improve the lives of all people and protect the environment.”

Tags: , ,

Comments are closed.

Follow InfraUSA on Twitter Facebook YouTube Flickr


Show us your infra! Show us your infra!

Video, stills and tales. Share images of the Infra in your community that demands attention. Post your ideas about national Infra issues. Go ahead. Show Us Your Infra!  Upload and instantly share your message.

Polls Polls

Is the administration moving fast enough on Infra issues? Are Americans prepared to pay more taxes for repairs? Should job creation be the guiding determination? Vote now!


What do the experts think? This is where the nation's public policy organizations, trade associations and think tanks weigh in with analysis on Infra issues. Tell them what you think.  Ask questions.  Share a different view.


The Infra Blog offers cutting edge perspective on a broad spectrum of Infra topics. Frequent updates and provocative posts highlight hot button topics -- essential ingredients of a national Infra dialogue.