New Analysis Tools Measures Transportation Health Impacts

The Integrated Transport and Health Impact Model estimates how planning decisions affect public health, including physical activity, collisions and vehicle exhaust. This can help create healthier communities.

November 27, 2020, 6:00 AM PST

By Todd Litman


Fabianodp / Shutterstock

The Healthy Mobility Options Tool is a new health impact analysis model that quantitatively answers the question of “How much benefit or harm to human health can we expect by changing the mix of active and motorized travel across a county, region, or the entire state?” The tool calculates the change in deaths, years of life shortening and disability, and costs due to changes in air pollution, physical activity, and traffic injuries associated with changes in active transportation levels (i.e., walking and cycling) on a population level.

This tool is a new, web-based version of the California Integrated Transport and Health Impact Model (ITHIM). In California, ITHIM has been used to assess the health impacts of regional transportation plans, goals of state and local agencies, and city and regional transportation projects. The Healthy Mobility Options Tool is the result of a collaboration between the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and California Department of Public Health (CDPH), with web development provided by UC Davis, that transforms the previous, spreadsheet-based version of California ITHIM into a new, user-friendly web-based platform.
This has important implications. Current planning tends to overlook or undervalue many of the health risks caused by policies and planning decisions that increase automobile travel, and the many health benefits provided by more multi-modal transportation planning, and from creating more compact, walkable neighborhoods. This tool not only quantifies these impacts, it also monetizes them, allowing decision-makers to compare them with other benefits and costs, such as travel time savings.

A free webinar introducing the this tool will take place on Monday, December 7, 2020 from 9:00 - 9:30 a.m. Pacific Time Zone. This webinar is oriented towards organizational leaders, planners, and policy-oriented staff whose work is related to health and transportation. Participants will learn what the tool is and examples of use cases. There will be a short live demo of the tool, including the equity modules that give income-level and race-specific results. Participants will be able to better identify the appropriate users in their organization and provide them with information on the tool. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2020 in Integrated Transport and Health Impact Model

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