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Future Topics-Community Benefits of Active Transportation

Monday, October 5th, 2015

I would like to see continued development in the link between transportation planning and improved health outcomes in our community. I don’t think the general public understands that investments in active transportation will save tax dollars–not just in transportation spending, but also in health spending, education spending (kids who exercise focus better), and more.

Bike Portland has certainly made me a better advocate on these issues over the years, and inspired me to follow the data in other forums as well.

For example, I attended a conference last week sponsored by We Can Do Better that included this address: “Transportation, Community Planning and Health Outcomes – Lawrence Frank, Ph.D. AICP, CIP, ASLA, Professor in Sustainable Transportation and Public Health at the University of British Columbia and President of Urban Design for Health, Inc.” Dr. Frank reported a study currently underway that will use ridership data from Trimet and a large healthcare system to look specifically at the health impact of the new Orange Line for people who live along that line (previous studies have shown that transit users exercise more). While it will be a couple of years (at least) before we see those results, it would be great to inform the biking community of these types of benefits.