The Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) has undertaken research into the relationship between transport, mobility, health and wellbeing.
Whilst a relationship between transport and health is generally recognised in broad terms – for example access to health care, personal mobility, better accessibility and the benefits of active travel on health - there is a need to understand the wider impact of improved mobility on mental health and wellbeing.
When developing the case for new transport schemes in the UK in recent times, the funders, professional advisers and users have tended to focus only on the direct economic benefits, without factoring in the quantified health and wellbeing savings.
We question if health and wellbeing outcomes should be considered in scheme development, taken into account in the design process, and embedded in the economic assessment and justification for transport projects.
The research was conducted for CIHT by Peter Brett Associates LLP (PBA), who acted as a voluntary facilitator.
This work has culminated in the production of an accessible report of our findings that is published below.
A Transport Journey to a Healthier Life
A Transport Journey to a Healthier Life
How transport policy and procedure can contribute to the health and wellbeing agenda
This report discusses how transport policy and procedure can contribute to the health (including mental health) and wellbeing agenda.
The report, produced with support from Peter Brett Associates, involved a review of research, policy and practice by a team of industry practitioners.
The key findings from the report were:
• There are opportunities to improve links between transport, health and wellbeing, but progress is being hampered by a lack of strategic integration nationally and joint working locally.
• The health and wellbeing benefits of transport investment need to be measured in terms of cost and non-monetary values to better influence funding decisions.
• The local planning system should take more account of health and wellbeing in decision-making.
• The influence of transport choices on people’s mental health and wellbeing should be emphasised more in policy and practice.
• The transport sector is failing to take full account of the health and wellbeing benefits of walking.
Sue Percy, CIHT said:
“The UK is facing significant challenges in terms of the health of the nation and the impact that has on wellbeing and quality of life. Whether through problems of increasing obesity, addictions, mental health issues or an ageing population; better health policies, funding and support will be key to improving quality of life.”
“Through this research we have highlighted the need to improve strategic integration nationally and collaboration locally if we are to improve the links between transport, health and wellbeing.”
“It is predicted that the cost to the NHS and society of obesity-related illness will reach £50 billion by 2050. Reliable, fit for purpose transport infrastructure can positively impact on this significant cost by facilitating uptake of greater levels of active and sustainable travel. The evidence gathered in this report shows that the local planning system must begin to take more account of the role of health and wellbeing if the full benefits are to be realised.”
“CIHT is pleased to have had the opportunity to work with Peter Brett Associates on this important area and we would like to record our thanks to all those who took part in the steering group and the wider research.”
Bob Pinkett, Partner, Peter Brett Associates LLP said:
“We were pleased to undertake this research, recognising the growing importance of understanding wider health and social factors that arise when sustainable transport solutions are developed for communities. While transport planners have increasingly recognised the role and benefits of active travel, we are just beginning to see how positive wellbeing outcomes can also be achieved through better design and operation. At PBA, we are finding that the benefits in mental health, as well as physical health, can now be assessed and built into our appraisal, development and delivery of projects.”