Development and Application of an Integrated Health Impacts Assessment Tool for the Sacramento Region

Federal transportation authorizations require metropolitan planning organizations (MPOs) to identify and track key indicators of system performance (e.g. collision rates, emissions, congestion) to ensure that they are stewarding public funds wisely to meet specific goals related to safety, environmental performance, and congestion mitigation, among other areas. Research has shown that living in areas where walking and bicycling are convenient leads to greater use of those modes, which can lead to improved health outcomes due to increases in physical activity. But increasing non-motorized travel can also increase active travelers’ risk of traffic injury and exposure to air pollution. Analytical tools that assess the tradeoffs between transportation plan alternatives are needed to inform public debate and ensure that gains in some health outcomes are not being undermined by losses elsewhere. The aim of this project is to investigate the distribution of public health impacts resulting from a regional transportation plan in the six-county Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG) region. This report summarizes findings related to three key goals:

  1. Comparison of different approaches to assessing the public health impacts of transportation plans.
  2. Employ a refined version of the Integrated Transportation Health Impacts Model (ITHIM) to quantify health impacts resulting from the 2016 SACOG Metropolitan Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy.
  3. Report on the development of a user-friendly web interface for summarizing ITHIM results.

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