Transport and health professionals can increase collaboration to improve health outcomes, says Urban Transport Group

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

 

Professionals working in the transport and health sectors can work more closely with one another to improve health outcomes in the UK, the Urban Transport Group has said today.

The statement comes as the Urban Transport Group unveils its new ‘Health and Wellbeing Hub’. The hub - the only resource of its kind - provides a digital, one stop shop, which brings together a wide range of resources that health and transport professionals need to understand one another, and to work more effectively together.

Transport and health are inextricably linked, and strengthening the connections between them offers a range of benefits, such as providing easy ways for people to be more active every day; cutting missed appointments through better transport access; tackling loneliness; and improving the experience and cost effectiveness of patient transport.  

Among the resources in the Health and Wellbeing Hub – compiled by the Urban Transport Group and Dr Adrian Davis, an internationally recognised expert on health and transport integration – are companion guides specifically aimed at transport professionals and health colleagues. Designed as practical tools for collaboration, the guides explain how to get started – who to contact, key opportunities to get involved in decision making, what influences each sectors’ decision making process and ideas for collaboration.

Additional resources include essential evidence on the links between transport and health, tools for assessing the impacts of interventions, information on how patients, visitors and staff travel to healthcare settings, and infographics.

Key statistics on the connections between transport and health include:

  • Physical inactivity directly contributes to 1 in 6 deaths in the UK and costs £7.4 billion a year to business and wider society.
  • Evidence suggests that switching to active travel modes – such as walking and cycling - for short motor vehicle trips could save the NHS £17bn in costs over a 20-year period.
  • Around 40,000 deaths each year in the UK are attributable to exposure to air pollution, of which road transport is a major contributor.

These, and other issues such as traffic casualties and poor accessibility leading to social isolation, have contributed to the growing consensus that the way we travel profoundly affects our physical and mental health and wellbeing, and that transport and health collaboration is of vital importance.  

Dr Jon Lamonte, Chief Executive of Transport for Greater Manchester and Urban Transport Group lead Board member for health, said:

“Our new Health and Wellbeing Hub contains a wealth of practical resources and tools to enable the transport and health sectors to work more closely. The materials form a compelling case for collaboration, which can achieve common goals from reducing exposure to harmful emissions and getting more people walking and cycling, to facilitating independent living to designing streets which promote health. We look forward to further strengthening our connections with health sector colleagues, based upon these firm foundations.”

Dr Adrian Davis said:

“Transport and health are two sides of the same coin. How we travel impacts on our own health and those of others. As an inter-disciplinary activity, transport and health collaboration is increasingly recognised as at the core of transport delivery, with the bonus of many co-benefits. The Health and Wellbeing Hub is unique, and invaluable for those seeking guidance and resources to help them in making key connections and in delivering health-enhancing transport.”

The Health and Wellbeing Hub is the most recent element of the Urban Transport Group’s long-term programme of work around health and transport, which includes the recent launch of the Healthy Streets for All programme with renowned public health expert Lucy Saunders; a high level 2017 roundtable (jointly convened the British Medical Association) on removing the barriers between collaboration; and research on improving the efficiency of patient transport.