New Report: Improving Modeling and Data Collection for Active Transportation

modelingThe Safe Routes to School National Partnership has released a new report, Improving Modeling and Data Collection for Active Transportation. This report details recommendations that cities, counties, MPO’s and the State of California could take to improve our understanding of the benefits of active transportation investments for health, congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.

Executive Summary

Improved quantification of the benefits of active transportation investments are becoming increasingly important as policy makers seek to expand investments in active transportation networks and understand the costs and benefits of these decisions. To ensure that future projects, funding allocations and policy decisions achieve goals related to mode shift, reduced vehicle miles traveled (VMT), cost effectiveness, greenhouse gas reductions and improved public health, it is vital that our current models accurately capture the benefits of active transportation investments.

To better understand the current state of active transportation data collection and modeling, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership (National Partnership) conducted a series of structured interviews with modeling professionals from across California in the fall of 2013. Interviewees were selected from MPO modeling staff, private consultants engaged in developing new active transportation models and academic experts conducting research in the field. From these interviews the National Partnership has compiled the results to provide policy makers a series of recommendations they can implement to improve data collection and modeling for active transportation.

Finally, there is a growing awareness of the effects of our transportation system on public health outcomes, including diabetes, asthma, obesity and chronic heart disease. Public health professionals recognize that active transportation investments provide “upstream” prevention measures that improve the health of communities by providing opportunities for physical activity. A number of innovative models have begun to emerge that seek to quantify this relationship between active transportation and public health outcomes. In addition to the recommendations made for traditional transportation models, brief recommendations have been developed on how these health focused modeling tools can be improved for active transportation.

Link to report: Improving Modeling and Data Collection for Active Transportation

Link to Brief: Recommendations for Data Collection for Active Transportation

Link to Brief: Recommendations for Improving Modeling for Active Transportation

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