Improving vehicle fuel economy or switching to
Improving traffic flow and enhancing operations
(e.g., reducing bottlenecks and the potential for
Reducing the energy intensity of construction
materials and methods
Addressing climate change in agency operations
(e.g., reducing the use of electricity in buildings
and outdoor mechanical and electrical systems,
procuring recycled and less energy-intensive
products for administrative and physical
Considering non-motorized transportation strategies
in the planning process has also increased in impor-
tance over the last several years. Non-motorized
transportation is primarily walking, whether on foot
or by wheelchair, and bicycling. Strategies include
improving sidewalks, crosswalks, paths, and bike
lanes, as well as applying forms of universal design
or traffic calming measures. Strategies are usually
implemented by local governments with funding
provided by regional or state agencies. Increased
attention is partly due to environmental and public
On the environmental front, non-motorized strategies
in planning have become more attractive as a means
to meet emissions standards under the federal Clear
Air Act. People in walkable neighborhoods drive
less--reducing traffic congestion and lowering vehicle
miles traveled. Plus, neighborhood walkability is
linked to fewer per capita air pollutants and green-
A secondary benefit is improved public health. For
roughly 20 years now, planners have examined the
relation between the built environment and travel
choices made by the public, including the choice
to walk or cycle instead of drive.
researchers have begun to look at these choices
especially as they relate to the issue of public health.
Declining physical activity is linked to worsening
health. Recent studies show a clear association
between the type of place people live and their
activity levels, weight, and health.
is convenient and non-motorized transportation
options few, unhealthy characteristics in the form
of obesity rates and hypertension are observed.
Thus, researchers have increasingly been looking at
the effect that transportation facilities and available
transportation options have on public health trends.
In response to public health concerns, transpor-
tation agencies have acted. For example, at the
request of several state DOTs, the Federal Highway
Administration and Federal Transit Administration
convened a roundtable several years ago on
"Integrating Health and Physical Activity Goals into
Transportation Planning." FHWA manages two
programs, SAFETEA-LU Sections 1404 and 1807
(Safe Routes to School and the Non-Motorized
Transportation Pilot Program, respectively).
9 Goldberg, David et. al. New Data for a New Era: A Summary of the SMARTRAQ Findings. January 2007. http://www.act-trans.ubc.ca/smartraq/
10 Ewing, Reid. Building environment to promote health. Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health. January 20, 2003.
11 Ewing, Reid and McCann, Barbara A. Measuring the Health Effects of Sprawl. Smart Growth America Surface Transportation Policy Project.
13 Among the problems cited by public health advocates, trends have been worsening in terms of obesity rates, cases of diabetes, cardiovascular disease,
depression and anxiety, as well as poorer development and maintenance of bones and muscles, especially among children.