April 13, 2012

Quantifying Active Transportation Impacts in Transportation Planning and Policy


Mr. Sean Co, Active Transportation Planner, Metropolitan Transportation Commission


Transportation and public health have been linked together with a common goal to reduce emissions from automobiles. In recent years, public health advocates looking for solutions to the growing obesity epidemic, have worked with transportation planners to encourage physical activity in daily travel. MTC conducted a benefit cost analysis for projects that defined transportation and land use decisions for the future. Projects were assessed based on the monetized benefits of transportation metrics but also included the health impacts of increased walk and bicycle trips to provide a direct public health benefit otherwise not considered in traditional transportation benefit cost analysis. In scenarios with high active transportation levels 14% fewer premature deaths due to cardiovascular disease and diabetes resulted in improvements in public health and reductions in health care costs.

Biographical Sketch

Sean is currently the lead planner for bicycle and pedestrian transportation planning and funding at the Metropolitan Transportation Commission in the San Francisco Bay Area. His work has focused on complete streets policy implementation, development of the regional bicycle plan and performance assessment for the Regional Transportation Plan (RTP). Sean represents MTC on the Transportation Research Board Bicycle Committee, Bay Trail Board, and California Bicycle Advisory Committee. Prior to working at MTC, Sean worked for Monterey and Santa Cruz County as well as a consulting firm. Sean has an undergraduate degree in environmental studies from University of California, Santa Cruz and a master’s degree in Transportation Technology and Policy at University of California at Davis. Sean is a former road racer and avid bicycle commuter riding 18 miles a day to work.