Why is the Environment Important to Everyone?
Transportation directly impacts the environment. Often this results in negative impacts, but not always. Environmentally responsible development decisions, infrastructure design, and transportation investments minimize transportation impacts on the natural and built environment and reduce resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Removal of fish passage barriers is an important example of current practices that retrofit infrastructure built in earlier eras, replacing barriers with environmentally appropriate designs. Transportation investments can also improve community health, mobility independence, and social equity for generations to come.
Four Policies that Support the Statewide Environment and Health Goal:
Work to accelerate availability of and demand for clean transportation energy sources across all sectors while reducing growth in demand for energy sources based on fossil fuels.
Encourage the design and development of communities that make walking and biking more viable for more people and increase opportunities for active travel for all ages.
Work to avoid highly sensitive environments for transportation infrastructure, minimize impacts where it is unavoidable, and continue to make progress on retrofitting outdated infrastructure to lessen existing impacts on fish habitat and other sensitive environments.
Promote practical solutions, transportation-efficient community design, and context sensitive strategies that effectively integrate transportation into the unique fabric of individual communities and environments, working to enhance overall quality of life and sense of place while improving mobility and access.
Recommendations to Support Environment and Health Statewide:
Ensure those involved in the siting of schools and other public facilities explicitly include transit, walk, and bike access in their decision-making process.
Explore ways for transit and state agencies to collaborate more effectively with land developers to create efficient mixed-use centers in the vicinity of multimodal transportation hubs.
Provide guidance to cities, counties, and transit agencies on various business models and funding mechanisms that can enable them to plan for and stimulate an expansion of electric vehicle charging stations across Washington.
Incentivize the use of clean technology and energy efficiency in the freight sector.
Cross-cutting topics can advance our understanding, preparedness, and ownership over new horizons. Here we present potential next steps and some options available to deepen understanding.
The same auto manufacturers working to bring connected and autonomous vehicles to the market are moving away from internal combustion engines, consistent with broader environmental objectives related to greenhouse gas emissions and air quality.
A built environment that offers a range of viable and interconnected travel options will be able to respond and recover faster after a natural disaster or other disruption than one that is solely dependent on a single mode of travel, which increases community resiliency.
Years of research confirm the public health benefits of active travel modes like walking and biking. Organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, among others, have long advocated for Americans to increase physical activity to reduce avoidable chronic conditions associated with inactivity. Greater consideration of health impacts in the criteria used to award transportation funding can help ensure that transportation investments are supporting broader societal health objectives.