Linking Transportation Access and Public Health

Millions of Americans miss medical care and other important day-to-day appointments due to a lack of access to reliable transportation.

1 minute read

January 17, 2024, 5:00 AM PST

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Close-up of blurred empty vinyl chairs with person sitting in background and wheelchair visible in hospital waiting room.

chalongrat / Allen Park

Almost 6 percent of Americans were unable to reach medical appointments or other important activities due to a lack of reliable transportation in the last 12 months, reveals new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.

Steven Ross Johnson outlines the results in U.S. News & World Report, noting that “Overall, the data indicates between 13 million and 14 million adults in the U.S. had recently faced the issue in 2022, according to a CDC spokesperson.” Among people living below the federal poverty line, the rate increased to 16 percent.

Lack of access to transportation can impact people’s health over the short and long term. James Hardy of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, told U.S. News & World Report, “At its core, lack of reliable transportation creates a barrier for folks to get to the basic needs and services that families require in order to be healthy.”

For Hardy, this stems in part from the car-centric development that dominates most U.S. communities, limiting mobility for people who don’t own cars or can’t drive. Hardy notes that “narrowing health disparities tied to a lack of transportation will only come with more substantive changes to how government officials plan and invest in transportation.”

Thursday, January 11, 2024 in U.S. News & World Report

Aerial view of Oceanwide Plaza skyscrapers covered with graffiti tags.

LA’s Abandoned Towers Loom as a “$1.2 Billion Ruin of Global Capital”

Oceanwide Plaza, shuttered mid-construction after its developer filed for bankruptcy, has stood vacant on prime Los Angeles real estate since 2019.

May 21, 2024 - The Architect's Newspaper

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Ornate, tan stone capitol building with a gold dome roof and low-rise city buildings in the background.

States Are Banning Guaranteed Income Programs

Four states now have laws in place that prevent cities and counties from creating or continuing guaranteed income programs, and several more have tried or are trying.

May 23, 2024 - Bloomberg CityLab

California Governor Gavin Newsom announcing funding for tiny home shelter project in front of quick-build tiny home shelter unit.

California’s Tiny Home Pledge Still on Paper, One Year Later

A promise to fund 1,200 tiny homes for unhoused residents in four cities as a way to rapidly and cost-effectively provide shelter has yet to yield tangible results, but projects are moving ahead in some cities.

May 24 - CALmatters

Residential neighborhood in Colorado with fall foliage and snowy mountains in background.

Colorado Ends Non-Family Occupancy Limits

Local jurisdictions will no longer be able to limit how many unrelated adults can live in a household, a move that supporters say will help lower housing costs and help older adults supplement their incomes and stay in their homes.

May 24 - Strong Towns

A white crosswalk painted by Crosswalk Collective LA in Los Angeles, California.

Guerilla Urbanism Spurs Action From Cities

Rather than take a hostile approach to DIY urbanism, some cities are using guerilla efforts as an opportunity to understand critical infrastructure gaps.

May 24 - Smart Cities Dive

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.