Active transport, urban form and human health: Developing the links
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Walking and cycling, together referred to as active transport, are widely regarded as the healthiest and most sustainable means of transport. The health benefits, and subsequent economic benefits particularly from health-related productivity, of walkable, transit orientated urban forms are well established and are measurable. The relationships between human health and transportation choices are increasingly becoming an important focus in city planning and urban design. This paper examines the relationships between human health, urban form and transport, looking at how urban form can encourage or discourage active transport and the potential human health impacts of these urban planning decisions. Urban form characteristics, such as density levels and mixed land uses, along with transportation indicators, such as vehicle kilometres travelled and access to public transport, are identified along with the provision of pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure. These indicators can be used to assess future and existing land use. The paper is part of a larger project looking at the development of a methodology to assess human health outcomes using transportation outputs from a typical urban development model. The paper concludes that inclusive active transport requires a number of elements, particularly planning, infrastructure, evaluation and modification.
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