CDPH says Active Transportation is a Win-Win Strategy: Health and Cleaner Air

SRTS Efforts at Grapeland Elementary in Rancho Cucamonga. In photo Ericka Lewis Huntley and Victoria Jones

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has applied an Integrated Transport and Health Impacts Model (I-THIM) to measure the health co-benefits and potential harms of active transportation and low-carbon driving in urban environments. I-THIM model’s application to active transportation and low-carbon driving scenarios is an innovative way to quantify and demonstrate the wins of active transportation strategy. Additionally, the report is a call for counties and cities to implement policies for active transportation for the well-being of their citizens.

California advocates for health, wellness, global warming, and environment have long linked the personal passenger vehicle with increasing obesity rates, decreased physical fitness, and reduction in air quality. The transportation sector accounts for 38% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and significant public health and the environmental impacts can be made with big changes in individuals’ travel patterns. “Low carbon driving” includes the use of clean energy and adoption of personal passenger vehicles with low- or no-emissions. “Active transportation” is when short trips are substituted by walking or bicycling.

In the I-THIM health impacts model, a variety of scenarios were applied in the Bay Area, ranging from 2% to 15% walking and bicycling mode share with a 31 minutes to 145 minutes weekly physical activity increase, respectively. The CDPH found that nearly all (99%) health benefits came from increased physical activity instead of less air pollution. Thus, the magnitude of health improvements estimated by I-THIM “would rank among the most notable public health achievements in the modern era, and reduce the estimated $34 billion annual cost in California from cardiovascular disease and other chronic conditions such as obesity.”

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2 Responses to CDPH says Active Transportation is a Win-Win Strategy: Health and Cleaner Air

  1. Pingback: California State Network – February Meeting « Safe Routes to School in California

  2. Pingback: California State Network – February Meeting « Safe Routes to School in California

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