Incorporating Public Health into Transportation Decision Making

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Incorporating Public Health into Transportation Decision Making


Investments in transportation have the potential to significantly affect public health outcomes. Decisions to build highways, transit, or bikeways, for example, influence how residents and visitors move around a metropolitan area. Personal travel habits and proximity to transportation infrastructure play a role in how likely people are to be physically active or be exposed to dangerous traffic and toxic pollution. For this study, the research team reviewed the literature that links transportation infrastructure, the surrounding built environment context, and public health outcomes such as chronic heart and lung diseases, obesity, and death. The team then researched publicly available data that planners could use to inform decision-makers about the public health effects of funding certain investments. Finally, the team reviewed the guidelines of existing discretionary grant programs administered by the California Transportation Commission (CTC), and proposed improvements that would better incorporate available data on public health for consideration. These steps can positively influence funding decision-making for better public health outcomes in California.



Dr. Appleyard is an Associate Professor of City Planning and Urban Design at San Diego State University (SDSU) where he helps people and agencies from the “loading dock of the Ivory Tower” to make more informed decisions about how we live, work, and thrive. Working from the human to ecosystem scale, he is an author of numerous peer-reviewed and professional publications and is an expert on transport, housing, homelessness, and redesigning our streets for livability, placemaking, pedestrians, and cyclists. His expertise also extends to coordinating urban design, housing, and transport to help places become more sustainable, livable, healthy, and equitable. He recently published Livable Streets 2.0 about the conflict, power, and promise of our streets ( Dr. Appleyard holds a doctorate (as well as a master’s and bachelor’s) from the University of California in the town of Berkeley, where he grew up. 


Tim holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from Lafayette College and a Master of City Planning degree from San Diego State University. He currently works as a Regional Planner for the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG).

January 2023
Public transit
Public health
Active transport



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