Transportation and Land Use is a fancy way of saying “the places where we live, work, and play and the options we have for moving around those places.” It includes everything from whether kids can safely catch a bus to school to whether city zoning codes allow worksites to be located near neighborhoods.
Why It Matters
The simple act of getting from home to work or to the grocery store can keep you healthy or make you sick. When you choose to walk, bike, or take transit for everyday trips, you reduce your chance of obesity and chronic disease, you reduce your risk and others’ risk of being injured riding a bike or walking, and you help improve air quality in your community. Unfortunately, our car-oriented culture and spending priorities have resulted in limited options for many of us, especially for people with low incomes, people with physical disabilities, and for older adults and youth. We can support the health and safety of all Oregonians everyday by transforming how we plan our communities and how we spend our limited resources.
What We’re Doing
Upstream is participating in several regional and statewide transportation and land use planning efforts that provide opportunities to make sure decision makers consider health and equity impacts.
- At the state level, the Statewide Transportation Strategy includes many strategies that will improve the health of Oregonians. For Upstream’s analysis of the Strategy, check out our recent blog post at Portland Transport.
- Upstream is also working with Transportation for Oregon’s Future to ensure fair funding across the state for active transportation.
- In the Portland metro region, Upstream represents public health interests on advisory committees for such efforts as the Metro Active Transportation Plan and the Southwest Corridor Plan.
- Upstream also co-facilitates the Transportation Health Equity Network – a coalition of organizations in the region working for a healthier and just transportation system. Upstream and the Transportation Health Equity Network are exploring opportunities to quantify health impacts of and support public transit in the Portland metro region and throughout the state.
- On the federal front, Upstream is one of hundreds of partner organizations calling for a reauthorization of the federal transportation bill that supports community involvement and healthy transportation options. For more information about the threats to public input at the federal level, check out the letter from The Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights that Upstream signed onto.
What You Can Do
Interested in getting involved? Drop Heidi a line and she'll help you get plugged in.
Our Successes So Far
In April of 2012, Upstream worked with several partner organizations to host Local Motion - a mayoral candidates' forum on active transportation. Nearly 500 people attended and had the chance to submit their questions to and mingle with the candidates. The event helped raise the profile of several important transportation issues, including geographic disparities in the region, accessibility of public transit, and the prioritization of projects that best support underserved communities. In March of 2012, Upstream completed work on the Safety, Health, and Equity Credits for the Sustainable Transportation Analysis and Rating System (STARS). STARS is a new suite of tools designed to improve triple-bottom line outcomes in transportation plans and projects. In 2010, Upstream completed a Health Impact Assessment on Transportation and Land Use Policies in the Eugene Climate and Energy Action Plan in collaboration with City of Eugene Office of Sustainability, Community Health Partnership: Oregon's Public Health Institute, and Lane County Public Health. The HIA was adopted as an appendix of the Plan. In May 2009, Upstream disseminated a Health Impact Assessment on Policies Reducing Vehicle Miles Traveled in Oregon Metropolitan Areas to legislators and policy makers throughout the state. The report included recommendations to increase physical activity, decrease air pollution, and decrease car fatalities while reducing vehicle miles traveled.