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Ideas for Action
Health, Transportation & Mobility


Transportation planning and design decisions influence the rates of chronic disease, obesity, and the incidence of asthma.  Communities working to improve health can locate transit near housing to reduce vehicle trips and improve residents’ access to social, medical, employment and recreational activities.  Increasing access to bike and walkways can reduce traffic congestion and emissions that contribute to climate change, asthma and exposure to cancer-causing pollutants.

Click on each heading below for expanded information on ways to improve health through transportation planning and design decisions.

Make walking, biking and transit the preferred transportation choices for more trips.

  • Provide a mix of moderate- and high density development within walking distance of transit stations to increase transit ridership.
  • Create a pedestrian-friendly environment to encourage walking, bicycling and transit use. 
  • Reduce auto dependency and roadway congestion by locating multiple destinations and trip purposes within walking distance of one another.

Encourage pedestrian activity.

General plans, zoning codes and other planning requirements can be modified to increase the safety and feasibility of walking. Examples include:

  • Street designs that consider the needs pedestrians and cyclists (e.g., standards for lane widths).
  • Revisions to parking standards to address the negative impacts of minimum parking requirements on the pedestrian environment.
  • Installing traffic calming improvements (e.g., bulb-outs, traffic diverters, pedestrian islands and expanded sidewalks) that slow or channel auto traffic and address safety considerations.

Create streets that welcome cyclists and pedestrians.

  • Add and improve bikeways, widen sidewalks, and provide street trees to create a pedestrian environment that is pleasant, inviting, and safe and provides an appealing alternative to automobile travel.
  • Multiple-use trails, bicycle parking and striped bicycle lanes can be provided to encourage more people to bicycle more often.
  • A continuous network of good sidewalks is vital for encouraging more people to walk.
  • Streets, sidewalks and parking lots can be designed to accommodate the needs of the disabled.

Provide safe routes to school for students to walk and bike.

  • Retrofit roadways with sidewalks, curb ramps and features that slow traffic, making it easier and safer to walk.
  • Strictly control the operation of motor vehicles on and near school sites, at bus stops and along school routes.

Encourage a variety of nearby destinations for residents that can be reached by a variety of transportation modes.

  • Providing more destinations close together makes bus and rail service more efficient and cost effective for riders and transit agencies.
  • Laying out new roads using a traditional “grid” pattern provides more route choices.

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