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Transportation and Health

Our health is made up of more than genes and personal choices; the places we live, work, and play, and how we get to them, can have a significant impact on our health. For example, access to sidewalks and community destinations can influence how frequently we walk; living close to major roads and freeways increases our risk for chronic diseases such as asthma and cardiovascular disease; and long commute times can impact our ability to get to living wage jobs. The field of public health calls these greater influences the social and environmental determinants of health.

Citing the clear connections between public health and our transportation systems, the Oregon Public Health Division and the Oregon Department of Transportation signed a memorandum of understanding to draw attention to the links, and to support increased collaboration between the agencies. The Oregon HIA Program has supported this work by developing resources useful for both transportation planners and public health professionals to better understand, assess, and improve the health impacts of transportation plans, policies, projects, and systems. These resources include:

Health and Transportation: A series of mode-specific research briefs- The Oregon HIA Program developed these research briefs to provide a mode-specific public health reference for Oregon health and transportation professionals. Link to Transportation Research Briefs

An Oregon Version of the Integrated Transport and Health Impact Model (ITHIM)- ITHIM is a nationally and internationally accepted model for quantifying health impacts related to changes in transportation systems and behaviors, which uses a comparative risk assessment framework to quantify and monetize the health impacts of changes to air pollution, physical activity, and crash risk resulting from proposed changes in transportation systems.

The Transportation Options Health Impact Estimator (TO Estimator)- The TO Estimator is a version of ITHIM designed by HIA Program staff specifically for assessing health impacts related to transportation options programs and other travel demand management programs that result in increased walking and biking rates.

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