Publication Detail

Health and Travel

UCD-ITS-RP-13-132

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Suggested Citation:
Handy, Susan L. (2013) Health and Travel. Handbook of Sustainable Travel, 199 - 214

Awareness of the many different connections between health and travel is growing. While safety has long been the pre-eminent health concern in the transportation field, the health impacts of harmful pollutants became a public concern starting in the 1950s, and concerns over a decline in active forms of travel rose to prominence in the last decade. Efforts to address these concerns recognize that driving has negative impacts on health, while the alternatives can have positive impacts. Travel choices are thus central to all three health concerns. Strategies that aim to improve the healthiness of travel by changing these choices fall into three general categories: reducing the harms of driving, reducing the amount of driving, and increasing the use of active travel modes. Many of these strategies are synergistic in that they help to address all three health concerns simultaneously and are more effective when employed together. Given the substantial connections between health and daily household travel, it is important that health impacts be considered in the formation of transport policy. The movement towards “sustainable transport planning” offers an unprecedented opportunity to bring health considerations into the mainstream by recognizing health as a critical component of sustainability.

Key words: Physical activity, vehicle emissions, traffic safety, active travel, transport policy