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New Tool Highlights Connection Between Transportation and Public Health

Photo courtesy of / Dan Burden

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) jointly developed a new tool known as the Transportation and Health Tool.  The tool highlights the connection between transportation and public health and can help improve transportation decision making. The tool provides information and resources to agencies to identify strategies to improve public health through transportation planning and policy.  The Transportation and Health Tool enables transportation decision makers and the public to compare their region or state with others on key health and transportation indicators.

The tool provides easy access to data that practitioners can use to examine the health impacts of transportation systems.  The Transportation and Health Tool provides data on 14 transportation and public health indicators for each state, metropolitan statistical area (MSA), and urbanized area (UZA).  The indicators measure how the transportation environment affects health with respect to safety, active transportation, air quality, and connectivity to destinations.  

Explore the Transportation and Health Tool:

  • Select a state, MSA, or UZA from the map to see how it performs on each indicato
  • Learn about the 14 indicators and the process used to select them;
  • Discover evidence-based strategies that practitioners can use to address health through transportation; and
  • Read more about the scoring methodology or download a spreadsheet with the complete dataset.


Neil Britto

The connection between transportation and public health is an important one. And indeed regional transportation planning efforts that consider not only mobility and access but also the effects on the public health of the surrounding community have begun to surface throughout the United States. Recent research findings based on responses from leaders in both the transportation planning and public health communities provide actionable takeaways for practitioners hoping to implement their own successful collaborative projects:

  1. When inviting stakeholders to the table, take an inclusive, “ecosystem” approach, looking for those who are involved in the issue at hand but may not know it.

  2. Consider MOUs, new public policies, and other mandates to overcome regulation dissimilarity and other variations among organizational stakeholders.

  3. Leverage salient trends and issues to justify collaboration between and among disperse communities.

  4. Identify and hone in on shared goals.

  5. Build trust through transparent processes, regular dialogue, and other concrete actions.

  6. Leverage grassroots efforts by activists and communities to spur collaboration.

  7. Assess and address knowledge gaps between partners, such as lack of understanding and lack of common language.

  8. Create and share data repositories.

You can read a more in depth explanation of this research on The Intersector Project blog, Intersector Insights, “Research to Practice: Connecting public health with transportation planning.” (

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