Hidden Health Costs of Transportation

This report explores how dependence on automobiles and roadways has profound negative impacts on human health. 

Including decreased opportunities for physical activity, and increased exposure to air pollution, and the number of traffic crashes. It also looks into how the health costs associated with these impacts, including costs associated with loss of work days and wages, pain and suffering, and premature death, may be as high as several hundred billion dollars. Providing convenient alternatives, encouraging active modes of transport, and a establishing a transportation system that fosters connectivity and social interaction can not only offset health impacts and costs, but generate health benefits. Health impacts and costs have typically not been considered in the transportation policy, planning, and funding decision-making process. There are few standards or models for estimating health costs. However, existing research can be used to estimate the population at risk, the magnitude of the health impact, and the health costs associated with those impacts. Growing recognition of the connection between transportation, land development and health has resulted in some studies and examples where health impacts and costs have been considered and assessed. These examples not only demonstrate that health costs should be a significant factor in decision-making, but also show that calculating such costs is indeed possible.

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