Transport planning for health : explaining and evaluating barriers and opportunities to intersectoral collaboration

Davis, Adrian Lawrence (2001). Transport planning for health : explaining and evaluating barriers and opportunities to intersectoral collaboration. PhD thesis The Open University.



The establishment in the 1980s of a European Health for All strategy and set of targets has implications for transport planning policy across Europe. Potentially, Health for All provides a means by which transport planning can better promote public health. Key to this is the ability of local Health for All projects to develop effective intersectoral collaboration with transport planning professionals. The progress of Health for All in influencing priorities in transport planning is explored through a comparative study of Health for All collaborating cities in Denmark, the Netherlands and England between 1986 and 1996. Three cities are used as case studies: Copenhagen, Groningen, and Sheffield.

The study examines the extent to which transport policies have been influenced by Health for All strategies and targets. Archival and interview data are used to explore the nature and degree of intersectoral collaboration between Health for All projects and transport planning departments. The research contributes to knowledge about how Health for All can influence transport planning in promoting health, an issue largely neglected in the literature.

There are similarities and differences between Health for All projects studied in the way that they have sought to develop intersectoral collaboration on transport issues. The research highlights common barriers to effective collaboration, but also how Health for All projects could develop collaborative initiatives. It indicates that health needs to be translated into values such as quality of life, equity, and environmental protection, found to be policy drivers within transport planning. Quality of life and equity are identified in Health for All targets but were not drawn on sufficiently by health promoters. The study findings also underscore the importance of national policy frameworks on both health and transport which can provide common ground between the two sectors. The most successful city Health for All project was characterised by concerns for environmental protection and quality of life, with supportive national government frameworks for health promotion and transport planning.

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