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Health Performance Metrics

Health performance metrics are measures that can be used to assess the performance of a transportation plan or project against select health-related goals. The indicators described in the Transportation and Health Tool can be used as performance measures. The measures and targets can be tailored to the context of the transportation decision. Health performance metrics are not required but can be integrated with other transportation performance metrics.

Related Transportation and Heath Tool Indicators

How can this strategy result in health benefits?

  • Address chronic disease (e.g., asthma, diabetes, heart disease)
  • Improve access to health-supportive resources
  • Improve equity
  • Increase physical activity
  • Improve safety
  • Reduce human exposure to transportation-related emissions
  • Reduce motor vehicle-related injuries and fatalities
  • Reduce transportation's contribution to air pollution

How has this worked in practice?

Philadelphia’s Planning and Health Indicator List and Assessment Tool (PHILATool)

The City of Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health, along with the City Planning Commission, created PHILATool as part of the department’s Get Healthy Philly initiative and during drafting of the city’s 2035 Comprehensive Plan. The tool is adapted from the San Francisco Department of Health’s Healthy Development Measurement Tool. PHILATool matches 20 health-related objectives from the Comprehensive Plan with a set of 71 measurable indicators. Demographic data from the U.S. census and local health outcomes data are also incorporated in the tool. The tool is used in district planning to assess baseline health conditions across the city and to identify priority issues and opportunity areas. Each indicator can be graphed, mapped, or analyzed to provide data to consider public health during planning and decision making for infrastructure, land use, and development.

Where can I learn more?

The U.S. EPA Guide to Sustainable Transportation Performance Measures describes opportunities to incorporate environmental, economic, and social sustainability into transportation decisions through the use of performance measures. Some of these measures are related to health.

The Performance Measurement Framework for Highway Capacity Decision-Making includes performance measures related to air toxics and general information about using performance measures in decisions.

The Healthy Communities Atlas for San Diego County, California, provides an overview of conditions related to health and wellness in the San Diego region based on a variety of health-related indicators.

Comprehensive Planning for Public Health: Results of the Planning and Community Health Research Center Survey by the American Planning Association highlights the results of a web-based survey used to identify comprehensive and sustainability plans, either drafted or adopted, that explicitly address public health.

Evidence base

Frank LD, Schmid TL, Sallis JF, Chapman J, Saelens BE. Linking objectively measured physical activity with objectively measured urban form: findings from SMARTRAQ. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2005;28:117-125.

Frumkin H, Frank LD, Jackson RJ. Urban sprawl and public health: designing, planning, and building for healthy communities. Washington, DC: Island Press; 2004.

Mumford KG, Contant CK, Weissman J, Wolf J, Glanz K. Changes in physical activity and travel behaviors in residents of a mixed-use development. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2011;41(5):504-507.

Rutt C, Dannenberg AL, Kochtitzky C. Using policy and build environment interventions to improve public health. Journal of Public Health Management Practice 2008;14(3):221-223.