‘Opposites’ Day at USDOT, CDC

Agencies release online tool intended to indoctrinate the “uniformed” about transportation impacts on health

Did you ever play “Opposites Day” with your kids and/or grandkids? You say something but they understand your words actually mean the opposite and they dissolve into giggles because it’s so silly.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have produced a silly website they say is designed to show “how transportation investments can help protect human health,” but they mean just the opposite—the site is a blue print on how transportation projects can be attacked or modified based the “impact of transportation on health.”

Among the “silly” cited in the materials on the THT website are:

  • Reduced traffic crashes and pollution emissions
  • Increased physical fitness and affordability which reduces financial stress to lower-income households.
  • Improved mental health, basic access to medical care and improved access healthy food
  • Who Knew?

    The silly benefits all sound like they come straight from the playbook of the Obama Administration’s effort to increase “active transportation,” i.e. walking or biking.

    They call it the Transportation and Health Tool (THT) (www.transportation.gov/transportation-health-tool). The two agencies say they developed it to provide easy access to data that practitioners can use to examine the health impacts of transportation systems.

    There are some real benefits for transportation planners—it’s a one stop shop for an impressive collection of data points on what they call “health-related transportation indicators” including:

  • Alcohol-Impaired Fatalities (state and metro area level)
  • Commute Mode Shares (state and metro area level)
  • Complete Streets Policies (state and metro area level)
  • Housing and Transportation Affordability (metro area level only)
  • Land Use Mix (metro area level only)
  • Person Miles Traveled by Mode (state level only)
  • Physical Activity from Transportation (state level only)
  • Proximity to Major Roadways (state and metro area level)
  • Public Transportation Trips per Capita (state and urbanized area level)
  • Road Traffic Fatalities by Mode (state and metro area level)
  • Road Traffic Fatalities Exposure Rate (state and metro area level)
  • Seat Belt Use (state level only)
  • Use of Federal Funds for Bicycle and Pedestrian Efforts (state level only)
  • Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) per Capita (state and urbanized area level)
  • Here Comes the Pitch

    After viewing the indicators, the THT makes available a list of 25 “strategies” than can be used to “improve health outcomes through transportation investments.” Examples given include adding “infrastructure” for walking, bicycling and mass transit, as well as efforts to improve roadway safety.

    “This tool provides transportation and public health officials with a starting point for a dialog on how transportation investments can help protect human health,” Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said. “We are looking forward to continuing our collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to enhance our communities and improve health.”

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