TRB 2016 Blue Ribbon Committee
16th National Transportation Planning Applications Conference

Using Transportation to Improve Public Health

Corresponding Author: Ashley Tracy, Whitman, Requardt, and Associates

Presented By: Ashley Tracy, Whitman, Requardt & Associates, LLP


DelDOT, University of Delaware's Center for Applied Demography & Social Research (CADSR), and the Delaware Division of Public Health are collaborating to develop a process to quantify the impacts of transportation and land use decisions on public health in Delaware. This initiative builds on collaborative efforts and will allow DelDOT to predict active bicycle and pedestrian travel at the statewide level and to use health impacts as new measures of effectiveness (MOE's) for transportation and land use alternatives.

The presentation will include discussion of modifications to the yearly Delaware Travel Monitor Survey to capture previously underreported active transportation and recreational trips. Measures of the built environment, such as an accessibility index, were developed as equations for the Delaware Statewide Peninsula Travel Demand Model to predict and assign active transportation trips on roadway, bike, and pedestrian networks. The model required structural refinements in order to predict shifts in travel mode from passive to active transportation and recreational travel, such as development of an ultra-high resolution travel network based upon the E911 centerline file that is fully routable and includes parcel-level synthetic household demographics, sidewalks and trails.

As proof of concept, DelDOT tested a health benefit calculator in the TDM using mortality rate reductions based on World Health Organization HEAT Tool guidance. Ongoing work includes administering a health and travel survey to targeted high- and low-accessibility areas to provide new rich datasets to determine local baseline health and aid in the calculation of morbidity measures such as rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity.

This work allows DelDOT the ability to prioritize multi-modal improvements where data-driven approaches have been historically lacking; using bicycle and pedestrian travel forecasts at a statewide level in conjunction with health MOE’s provides decision makers another lens for comparing transportation and land use alternatives.


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