Strategic Opportunities for Integrating Health and Transportation

Project Summary


In Progress

Research Area

Health, Active Transporttion, Transportation Planning

Responsible Council / Committee

Urban Transportation Council / Transportation Planning and Research Standing Committee

Project Funding Partners

Region of Peel; Halifax Regional Municipality; Regional Municipality of Waterloo; Regional Municipality of York; Ontario Ministry of Transportation; City of Edmonton; City of Calgary; Alberta Transportation; New Brunswick Transportation and Infrastructure; City of Ottawa; Ministère des Transports du Québec; Public Health Agency of Canada; Transport Canada; Ville de Montréal

Research Agency

Urban Design 4 Health

Staff Contact


Transportation systems have been traditionally designed primarily for motorized vehicles and goods movement.  This nature exerts a significant influence on the way Canadians travel in their daily lives to the point where it may increase their risk of numerous negative health outcomes, including obesity, chronic and respiratory disease, and injury.  

Health status can be improved when transportation systems facilitate public and active transportation, whereby physical activity would be safely integrated into daily life. Furthermore, such an approach can result in reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and congestion as well as improved productivity and sustainability.

The link between health and transportation system planning has been recognized in a number of studies promoting potential health benefits of active transportation. Furthermore, health elements are beginning to be considered in a range of local, regional, provincial transportation strategies and plans, technical documents and guidelines.

The paradigm has begun to shift towards health-promoting transportation systems and environments. There is an opportunity to further build health considerations into transportation policies, planning, investment and design decisions. 

The major project objectives are to:

  • Review the existing tools, guidelines and practices and identify opportunities to further strengthen the understanding and application of health considerations into transportation planning, design and decision making.
  • Prepare a health benefits case from a transportation perspective, which includes the identification of how health is supported and/or impacted by different modes of transportation.
  • Explore various means by which health considerations can be integrated into transportation planning, design and decision making and identify gaps in the current tools and practices.
  • Determine how health impacts (including those relating to air quality and noise) are integrated into and/or supported by the various Canadian transportation manuals and guidelines.
  • Suggest measures to strengthen the integration between health and transportation where gaps exist and recommend changes to practices and tools that may be adopted/adapted by Canadian provinces/communities of different sizes/regions.

Key tasks to accomplish the project objectives will include:

  • Review the best practices of various jurisdictions and/or organizations in addressing the health implications associated with transportation, including any relevant documents, standards and designs that have been developed.
  • Develop recommendations/guidance to address the identified gaps and strengthen the integration between health and transportation.
  • Consult with health and transportation professionals to advance this initiative.

The work will culminate in guidelines that identify gaps and provide recommendations for strengthening the integration between health and transportation.