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Skip Navigation LinksPennsylvania Department of Health > WalkWorks > WhatWorks for Local Government & Schools > Policies

Incorporating "Health" and "Active Transportation" into Policies

This section of WhatWorks presents examples of policies as well as resources to assist decision/policy-makers, both government and school-based, in the development of policies and strategies that promote active transportation and/or health.

For purposes of this guide, active transportation is defined as walking, biking, and public transit. Public transit is considered active transportation because it most often involves an active mode at the beginning or end of the trip.

NOTE: By no means is the following intended to be all inconclusive nor serve as a regulatory function.


In 2015, communities passed a total of 82 Complete Streets policies. These laws, resolutions, agency policies, and planning and design documents establish a process for selecting, funding, planning, designing, and building transportation projects that allow safe access for everyone, regardless of age, ability, income or ethnicity, and no matter how they travel. The city of Reading, PA adopted the first Complete Streets policy to score a perfect 100 in the analysis.

Source: Smart Growth America


This fact sheet provides checklists and tools to help users understand the process of drafting policy and, further, how to draft well-written policies that will help achieve public health goals.

Source: Public Health Law Center at William Mitchell College of Law


This is an example of a campaign that can be used as a guide to promote a variety of policy options for improving nutrition and physical activity environments.

Source: Healthy Eating, Active Living Cities Campaign


This policy authorizes funding and sets policy for USDA's core child nutrition programs: the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), the Summer Food Service Program, and the Child and Adult Care Program.

Source: United States Department of Agriculture


This organization provides resources for advocates promoting walkable communities which focus on policy areas that include: safe bicycle lanes, safe routes to school, and transportation funding.

Source: Pennsylvania Walks and Bikes


This resource describes policies that can be used by local governments to increase bicycling and walking within their communities. It provides the context for policies being utilized across Kansas and elsewhere to increase walking and bicycling for both active transportation and recreation.

Source: Public Health Law Center at William Mitchell College of Law


Integrating health into transportation and land-use policies and plans and, thereby, expanding the availability of safety for, and access to transportation options has the potential to save lives by preventing chronic disease, reducing and preventing motor-vehicle-related and deaths, and improving environmental health - all while stimulating economic development and ensuring access for all people. The focus of this policy brief is on the importance and value of institutionalizing health considerations into decision-making with specific focus on physical activity.

Source: University of Pittsburgh, Center for Public Health Practice


This resource was written by the public health facilitators of the California Health in All Policies Task Force and is geared toward state and local government leaders who seek to use intersectoral collaboration to promote healthy environments. It provides a broad range of perspectives and examples of the numerous ways to support such collaboration. While much of the information may appear intuitive or self-evident, the authors' experiences suggest that careful consideration of basic concepts, such as relationship building and decision making, is very helpful in pursuing the broad range of activities that fall within Health in All Policies.

Source: Rudolph, L., Caplan, J., Ben-Moshe, K., & Dillon, L. (2013). Health in All Policies: A Guide for State and Local Governments. Washington, DC and Oakland, CA: American Public Health Association and Public Health Institute.


This document identifies transportation policies that can have profound positive impact on health and, further, lists key recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for bringing public health considerations into transportation issues.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Physical Activity Policy Research Network (PAPRN)

The Physical Activity Policy Research Network (PAPRN) was created by the CDC to study the effectiveness of health policies related to increasing physical activity in communities. Its mission is to conduct transdisciplinary policy research by: identifying physical activity policies and the determinants of the policies; describing the process of implementing policies; and determining the outcomes of physical activity policies.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


How Much Physical Activity Do Adults Need?
The site addresses health benefits of physical activity -- both aerobic and muscle strengthening. It links to both a video regarding adding physical activity to one's life as well as a "Physical Activity Guidelines Toolkit for Americans."

Source: centers for Disease Control and Prevention


2035 Nashville Area Regional Transportation Plan
The Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) adopted an Active Transportation Funding Policy in its 2035 Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). This policy directs at least 15% of Urban Surface Transportation Program funding toward active transportation projects. The MPO developed a systematic approach to rating transportation proposals, giving priority for active transport and projects that address transportation needs in high disparity areas. The MPO utilized multiple data sources to identify and prioritize communities in greatest need with the goal of increased physical activity and identified health as a criterion for project selection. An evaluation of the process identified inclusion of health organizations, from the state and local levels, as a key to the success of the 2035 RTP.

Source: Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization

This guide outlines the benefits of starting a walking school bus as well as points to consider before launching it. Two general ways to conduct a walking school bus are described: (1) starting simple with a small group of friends or neighbors; and (2) creating a more structured program to reach more children. The benefits, considerations and variations -- of both options -- are detailed so that organizers can choose the approach that matches local needs. Examples of walking school buses and bicycle trains are included. This document would be useful to those schools considering the development of related policies.

Source: National Center for Safe Routes to Schools and the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (both of the University of North Carolina)

Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs use a variety of education, engineering, and enforcement strategies to make routes safer for children to walk and bicycle to school. This is a resource for schools, municipalities, and community leaders seeking resources, materials, and training through the SRTS program. It addresses issues, such as, though not limited to: what makes a good SRTS project; how a school/community initiates a SRTS project; and walkability.

Source: Pennsylvania Safe Routes to School Resource Center


To promote its guidelines and support youth physical activity (i.e., recommend that children and adolescents aged 6-17 years should have 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day), CDC and partner organizations developed this Toolkit, which highlights strategies that schools, families, and communities can use to support youth physical activity.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Active Transport To and From School: A Multi-site Exploration of Physical Activity Policy

The objectives of this project were to explore the barriers and enablers of active transport to and from school (ATS) and to identify common lessons learned across the school-community sites. The research team specifically focused on exploring ATS policies and practices. The research cites policies in schools or communities that affect ATS (e.g., drop-off policies) and factors that influence ATS policies (e.g., sidewalks, personal safety concerns).

Source: Physical Activity Policy Research Network


This guide addresses how policies can remove obstacles to bicycling, create incentives for bicycling infrastructure, and make it easier and safer to bicycle. It suggests to policymakers where to start and spells out how to effectively use policy to promote bicycling.

Source: ChangeLab Solutions


Playing Smart

This guide is designed to help school staff and other community leaders craft and implement joint use agreements. Complete with model agreement language and success stories, it provides an overview of the most common ways to finance joint use arrangements and guidance on how to overcome obstacles that may arise in negotiating and enforcing a joint use agreement.

Source:ChangeLab Solutions


Exterior Property Areas

The regulati
ons
apply to sidewalks and trails within the Township in an effort to ensure that sidewalks and trails are safe and accessible and to maintain amenities for the general public.

Source: Township of Cranberry, Code of Ordinances, Chapter 5, Part 2.C, 5-227, Section 4, Sidewalk and Trails


This section requires that sidewalks be provided along any new public or private street.

Source: Township of Cranberry, Code of Ordinances, Chapter 22, Part 5, Section 22-503.C, Public


An example of another code is this zoning ordinance, which requires sidewalks to be provided to allow safe pedestrian movement in all parking lots.

Source: Township of Cranberry, Code of Ordinances, Chapter 27, Part 3, Section 27-312.8.A


Denotes Pennsylvania resource


Last update: March 28, 2017. New documentation shall be added as it is identified.