Having Access to Transportation means that all residents of a community are able to safely and affordably get around. This includes well-maintained public transportation, and roads that are safe for vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians
Access to Transportation & Latino Health
Transportation impacts health in a variety of ways. Not only do safe transportation options connect people to healthcare services, they also connect individuals to employment opportunities, parks and recreational spaces, schools and places of worship. Active transportation options in particular promote health by encouraging physical activity.
The U.S. transportation system can be harmful to our health and costly, amounting to hundreds of billions of dollars each year in traffic crashes, air pollution and physical inactivity.
Yet health is typically not considered in transportation policy and planning, even though transportation is one of the economic and social factors that influences people’s health and the health of a community.
The connection between transportation and health is indisputable — as a science, discipline and matter of policy. Transportation systems impact health for better or worse. Historically, they have been designed to accommodate nonactive modes of transportation, namely the car. Our communities are sprawling and built in a way that it makes it very difficult for an individual to get to work, home, school or play without driving. There are limited opportunities to get out of the car to walk or bicycle. Unnecessary congestion and air pollution have become customary and our waistlines are growing. Obesity could edge out tobacco as public enemy No. 1 in our lifetime.
This paper aims to provide insight on whether bicycling for everyday travel can help US adults meet the recommended levels of physical activity and what role public infrastructure may play in encouraging this activity. The study collected data on bicycling behavior from 166 regular cyclists in the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area using global positioning system (GPS) devices. Sixty percent of the cyclists rode for more than 150 minutes per week during the study and nearly all of the bicycling was for utilitarian purposes, not exercise. A disproportionate share of the bicycling occurred on streets with bicycle lanes, separate paths, or bicycle boulevards. The data support the need for well-connected neighborhood streets and a network of bicycle-specific infrastructure to encourage more bicycling among adults. This can be accomplished through comprehensive planning, regulation, and funding.