Transportation and Health Toolkit
As leaders of the public health community, you know what an enormous impact transportation decision making can have on a range of critical issues: public safety, air pollution, physical activity and obesity, built environment, equity and accessibility – to name just a few. This toolkit is an attempt to build a bridge between the public health and transportation communities, to create a common language for use by public health advocates that ensures our voices are heard by those who need to hear them.
Three Principles for Being Heard:
Something needs to change. The health of our communities is at stake, and we need to be heard. Three principles guided the development of the toolkit, and can change this unhealthy dynamic:
- Principle 1: Meet Them Where They Are. Transportation decision-makers need to understand that the public health community understands the day-to-day challenges they face. Right or wrong, their focus is overwhelmingly on keeping cars moving. Acknowledging this reality is important – and the fact is that the same options that improve public health cut traffic congestion and keep roads safe and in good shape.
- Principle 2: Talk in Terms They Understand. The transportation decision-making process is driven by money, doing a lot with a little on ever-shrinking budgets. Where possible, the economic component of public health benefits should be part of our communication.
- Principle 3: Then Own Your Own Space. The purpose of these guidelines is not to make us apologize for promoting policies that protect public health – we can and must provide the best information about how decisions can increase opportunities for physical activity, improve road safety, reduce air pollution and more. But by presenting these arguments in a context that validates the core concerns of transportation decision-makers, they are far more likely to be heard.