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Planning and Health

Public health practitioners promote active transportation - walking, bicycling, and transit (as people usually walk to transit) - as a way to improve mental and physical health. We've collected resources for health professionals and planners to improve community health through planning.

Two bicyclists enjoy a low-stress ride in Vancouver, BCPlanning and Zoning for Health in the Built Environment is a toolkit with checklists for community design policies and comprehensive plan elements to improve health. It includes model language and implementation plans, sample performance measures and policy intervention areas, built environment outcomes, including detailed logic models, and 21 recommendations and evidence-based strategies for a healthy built environment.

Plan4Health is a coalition effort led by the American Planning Association and American Public Health Association. Resources include a peer learning network and topic-specific tools.

Active Living Research is a group dedicated to working with governments on promoting active living, with a collection of studies about the best approaches.

Bike Lanes May be the Most Cost-Effective Way to Improve Public Health. This Fast Company article cites the academic study, "the cost-effectiveness of bike lanes in New York City".

Activity-Friendly Communities Can Make Our Lives Better (2014). A presentation by Dr. James Sallis, Director of Active Living Research at the University of California, San Diego.

Active Design Guidelines: Promoting Physical Activity and Health in Design. The City of New York discusses ways to build opportunities for daily physical activity into the built environment.

Connecting Communities: Creating Livable Communities for Everyone (video). Presentation by active transportation expert Gil Penalosa, executive director of 8-80 Cities. (TGM-sponsored event in Eugene, 2014)

Health Impact Assessment map from the Pew Charitable Trusts. Health Impact Assessments look at the health impacts of proposed projects. Users can search by sector, such as transportation.

Vision Zero and Health Equity Road Map: Getting to Zero in Every Community is a brief from the Prevention Institute offering recommendations for advancing health equity. Vision Zero is a growing movement among cities nationally and internationally to eliminate all traffic-related deaths and severe injuries. Safety concerns are a leading reason cited by people who choose not to walk and bike more often.

The Case for Healthy Places: How to Improve Health through Placemaking is a 2016 report from the Project for Public Spaces.

Walkability expert Mark Fenton hears from community leadersIn December 2015, national walkability expert Mark Fenton visited several Oregon cities to talk about connecting health and transportation.

The visit was sponsored by TGM, in partnership with local and regional governments, and the Oregon Health Authority. Videos are from a presentation in Corvallis.

Watch the talk in full, or view key excerpts.

Klamath Falls leaders examine a map of health problemsTigard adopted a goal is to be the #1 walkable city in the Pacific Northwest. It is taking actions through various departments to promote walking.

In Klamath Falls, the health community analyzed options and identified a separated bike lane as the project most likely to improve health.

In suburban Washington County, the County conducted a health impact assessment which identified a key bridge investment to connect a community to schools.

In Clackamas County, the County studied impacts of a safety effort on Highway 99E.

HEAL Cities lists more examples of cities working to promote transportation choice and smart land use planning in their plans.

In Klamath Falls, Roseburg, Grants Pass and The Dalles, the Blue Zones Project is working with cities to improve community health.

Two kids walk to schoolSafe Routes to School. Having students walk or bike to school makes them healthier, more focused students.

Oregon Health Authority Health Impact Assessment page. Describes HIAs and provides local examples and resources, including a summary of health and transportation research.

ODOT and Oregon Health Authority partnership. ODOT is partnering with the Oregon Health Authority - Public Health Department to improve health.

Oregon HEAL Cities Campaign. The campaign provides technical assistance and has a list of land use and transportation policies to boost health.

The Oregon Community Food Systems Network is a group of over 40 nonprofit organizations and allies strengthening local and regional food systems. Priorities include helping farmers get access to land and helping all Oregonians get access to healthy, nutritious food.


Laura Buhl
Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development
Phone: 971-375-3552

Stephanie Millar
Oregon Department of Transportation
Phone: 503-986-4224

Stephen C. White
Oregon Health Authority
Phone: 971-673-0245