National Academies Press: OpenBook

A Research Roadmap for Transportation and Public Health (2019)

Chapter: Chapter 1 - Introduction

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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. A Research Roadmap for Transportation and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25644.
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Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. A Research Roadmap for Transportation and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25644.
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Page 2
Page 3
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 1 - Introduction." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2019. A Research Roadmap for Transportation and Public Health. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25644.
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1 Roadmap Purpose and Intended Audience/Use States and localities are beginning to recognize and act on the connection between health and transportation. A growing number of entities—including the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO), Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE), American Planning Association (APA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Transportation Research Board (TRB), private foundations, and others—have recognized the role that transportation plays on health and have produced a number of resources or guidance documents on the topic (see page 2). Additionally, many agencies have produced strategic plans/agendas or calls to action related to transportation and health, including the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute of Health (NIH), and the U.S. Surgeon General. A review of these documents revealed the following common themes in the stated goals: • To ensure and promote safety and to reduce fatalities and injuries. • To provide opportunities for safe and convenient active travel (to include reducing auto dependency, increasing access to transit, providing sustainable transportation, and reducing negative environmental outcomes associated with sprawl and/or auto use). • To provide integrated health/economic/land use/planning approaches and to foster cross- sector collaboration. • To reduce emissions, water, air, and noise pollution and their associated impacts. • To provide easy, affordable access to education and employment, healthcare, and other destinations, and to promote positive health effects on the surrounding community. • To streamline processes to deliver projects more quickly while safeguarding communities. • To promote environmental justice principles in transportation decision-making and to address disparities. • To develop consistent, comparable, and compatible data sets across transportation and health-related disciplines. The purpose of A Research Roadmap for Transportation and Public Health is to build upon this body of literature, strategic agendas, and research needs to provide a plan for funding research over the next decade that can lead to greater consideration of health issues in transportation contexts. This document is intended to support strategic research funding decision-making by a variety of federal, state, local, and private funding sources and other organizations. The recommendations are derived from a research process that involved both stakeholder engage- ment (including representatives from federal, state, and local transportation and health-related agencies) and a review and synthesis of existing literature (including peer-reviewed literature, grey literature such as reports, conference proceedings, magazines, and other published works). C H A P T E R 1 Introduction

2 A Research Roadmap for Transportation and Public Health See the contractor’s final report for NCHRP 20-112 (available on the TRB website by searching for NCHRP Research Report 932) for additional rationale and background information support- ing the research recommendations and details on the Roadmap development process. Roadmap Organization The delivery of transportation services and networks involves many decision-making processes (see Figure 1). Each of these processes offers an opportunity to consider current and future health outcomes and apply health-related data or analysis tools. A Research Roadmap contains five main parts: • Research needed to support specific agency processes to incorporate health considerations. Chapter 2 of A Research Roadmap is organized around key DOT decision-making processes (shown in Figure 1), to highlight health–transportation research needs within specific transportation agency contexts. Each section provides an orientation to the issue and then describes specific research gaps identified and related needs. Key Health and Transportation Resources • FHWA’s “Moving Healthy: Linking FHWA’s Programs and Health” (2013) provides a broad overview of FHWA’s programs and funding sources and ways in which health may be advanced within them. • NCHRP’s Project 25-25 Task 105, “A Guidebook for Communications between Transportation and Public Health Communities” (Steedly et al., 2019), offers key definitions, terms, and processes to support cross-sector collaboration between transportation and health departments. • USDOT’s Volpe Center produced a two-part white paper series aimed at demonstrating opportunities statewide and at the metropolitan planning organization (MPO) level to incorporate health into transportation planning (Lyons et al., 2014; Lyons et al., 2012). • APA’s Healthy Communities Policy Guide provides a snapshot of the role that transportation planning and policy making can play on health and provides some guiding definitions, policies, performance measures, and resources (2017). • The Urban Land Institute (ULI) Healthy Corridors Project (2019) investigated best practices in transforming commercial corridors to become safe, healthy, vibrant, mixed-use places with next-generation infrastructure. • In its report Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) recently identified transportation as a primary factor affecting health due to its far-reaching impacts on physical activity, access to fundamental services, traffic collisions, and pollution (NASEM, 2017). • Health on the Move 2 provides a slightly dated but comprehensive e-book from a group of international researchers and practitioners, documenting scientific evidence and policies related to health and transportation (Mindell et al., 2011). • Van Wee and Ettema (2016) provide a concise overview of the literature related to public health, land use, and transportation, as well as a conceptual model and agenda for future research.

Introduction 3 • Research needed to support broader agency practices around health. Chapter 3 of A Research Roadmap describes research gaps and needs beyond any specific process, but related health–transportation practices more generally, as well as the translation of research into practice. • Research needed to understand specific or emerging health issues. Chapter 4 describes research gaps related to emerging issues or topics that may not currently be connected to existing processes or practices, or where more fundamental research is needed. • Priority research problem statements. While Chapters 2 through 4 of the Research Roadmap describe a wide range of research gaps and needs that transportation researchers may consider, Chapter 5 is intended to provide six specific research problem statements that could be advanced through AASHTO and TRB research funding processes. These were developed through a prioritization process, described in Appendix A of the contractor’s final report, and determined to be priority areas for research based on input from the NCHRP 20-112 panel and stakeholders engaged in the project. • An implementation/communication plan. Appendix A of this document contains a guid- ance on advancing needed research ideas into funded projects through various channels available. The contractor’s final report provides additional detail on the methods used to identify the research gaps and needs described in Chapters 1-4 of A Research Roadmap. It also summarizes many current agency practices and resources/guidance identified through the course of the Research Roadmap development, highlighting strengths and limitations of existing practices, literature, and policy evaluations and providing additional rationale for the needed research documented here. The contractor’s final report also contains a glossary of terms and a list of acronyms that are used in this document as well as in the report. Figure 1. Transportation decision-making and community-engagement opportunities.

Next: Chapter 2 - Transportation Agency Processes »
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States and localities are beginning to recognize and act on the connection between health and transportation. A growing number of entities have produced a number of resources, guidance documents, and strategic plans on the topic.

The TRB National Cooperative Highway Research Program's NCHRP Research Report 932: A Research Roadmap for Transportation and Public Health builds upon this body of work to provide a plan for funding research over the next decade that can lead to greater consideration of health issues in transportation contexts.

The report includes an Implementation Plan that is outlined in the Health and Transportation Research Roadmap presentation as well as a document on the research methods and background materials from the project.

The 10-year strategic Roadmap will provide a broad overview of highly relevant research needs as well as implementable tools for state DOTs and partners at the intersection of transportation and public health in the U.S.

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