Active transportation like biking and walking to destinations can increase physical activity. It is associated with better fitness, reduced risk for cardiovascular disease, and lower rates of obesity and diabetes. By improving bike and pedestrian infrastructure, more people can utilize it to get to public transit and also recreationally – which both lead to better health outcomes.
According to the CDC, public transportation systems are also associated with reductions in several health risk factors, including physical inactivity, air pollution, and motor vehicle crashes.
- Physical inactivity: Public transportation systems provide opportunities for increased physical activity in the form of walking or biking on either end of the trip (e.g., from home to bus stop or from bus stop to office). And individuals who use public transportation get over three times the amount of physical activity per day of those who don’t, according to the American Public Transportation Association (APTA).
- Air pollution: APTA and CDC also note that public transportation leads to better air quality with less pollution from motor vehicles, which can contribute to adverse respiratory and cardiovascular health effects.
- Motor Vehicle Crashes: Traveling by public transportation is 10 times safer per mile than traveling by automobile, according to APTA.
Public transportation also reduces stress by providing access to social and recreational activities, as well as access to education and employment, which in turn leads to better long-term economic opportunities. And it provides critical access to health care and health management, particularly for those with chronic disease.