Quantifying Health Costs Of Auto-Dependency

Can health care costs be factored into transportation investments? Should they? The American Public Health Association says an emphatic 'yes' to both. Results are reported in a 12-page report that includes cost savings from walkable urban design.

APHA, in this new report, attempts to quantify all costs associated with a 'car-centric society'. They argue that "these costs have been ignored for too long as decision-makers hash out transportation policies. Instead, transportation projects usually focus on construction costs", etc. ignoring not only the costs of air pollution, traffic crashes, but also those associated with the more sedentary lifestyle made possible by auto-based, suburban, low density development.

"Health impacts and costs have typically not been considered in the transportation policy, planning, and funding decision-making process. There are few standards or models for estimating health costs."

From Executive Summary: "The combustion engine and the creation of the highway system increased mobility. However, investments in highways have come at the expense of other transportation modes." It "has led to a heavier reliance on vehicles and roadways and less on walking, bicycling and transit use" that has been exacerbated by the suburban development it enabled, resulting in "profound negative impacts on human health: decreased opportunities for physical activity, and increased exposure to air pollution, and the number of traffic crashes."

"An investment in a "healthier" transportation system is critical."

Thanks to Daily Grist

Full Story: Hidden health costs of transportation

Comments

Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!

NEW! Get the "Green Bible"

Understand the complexities of planning at the local level while preparing for the AICP* exam. Find out why this edition is included in the APA's recommended reading list.
$105
Book cover of Insider's Guide to Careers in Urban Planning

So you want to be a planner...

Check out our behind the scenes look at 25 careers in the Urban Planning field
Starting at $14.95