Transport and Health Guidebook

People waiting at a Melbourne tram stop. The tram is approaching. Transport and Health Guidebook.Transportation professionals are aware of the connection with health, but are public health professionals making the links? In general terms we know that the design of the built environment impacts on health. Transportation systems are part of the built environment and therefore impact health as well. From the USA comes a well-researched transport and health guidebook that joins the dots. 

The guidebook is primarily for transportation practitioners. It has a set of tools and resources for planning at all levels and for collaborating with health stakeholders. The guidebook also serves as reference for public health practitioners to learn more about how to contribute to transport planning.

The guidebook is titled, “Connecting Transportation and Health: A Guide to Communication and Collaboration”. It contains, tips, tools, case examples, process steps and integration opportunities. The intersections between transport and health are presented in table format. While the guide is based on USA organisations, it is applicable in other countries.

The research project underpinning the guide found communication challenges between health and transportation professionals. The challenges included the different jargon and terminology, and the different planning processes. Acquiring relevant data for analysis was another issue. Consequently, the researchers needed to find out how the two disciplines could work together more effectively.

Aim of the guidebook

“The guidebook should highlight the mission and processes of each community to enable a fundamental understanding between the professional communities. The guidebook should decipher industry “jargon”, improve transparency about underlying assumptions, and identify successful practices for establishing and fostering partnerships between transportation agencies and public health organizations.”

There are two documents:

      1. The full guide, Connecting Transportation & Health: A Guide to Communication and Collaboration. This is an 84 page document that includes information on the underpinning research.
      2. The Quick Reference Key Tables and Tools has the key elements for practitioners.

Public mental health

Delegates at an international conference in Barcelona participated in a workshop that provided some useful insights into transport related factors that could impact public mental health. While there are many factors that influence mental health, urban design can provide protective factors.

The title of the article is Scoping assessment of transport design target to improve public mental health.