The Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to collaborate with the non-profit Streetsmart organization, which is developing an evidence-based transportation tool that will allow cities to better integrate health into engineering practice.
The Oregon-based Streetsmart organization is in the process of developing a cloud-based platform that will give towns, cities and metropolitan regions the evidence and insight they need to prioritize, defend and decide what transportation solutions works best in their respective communities.
The organization is currently building partnerships and pursuing research projects to build the beta version of the Streetsmart platform. Currently in proof-of-concept prototype form, this online tool will help better integrate a wide range of environmental and livability concerns, including health, into engineering and planning practice. The prototype version is ready for agencies and authorities to trial and offer their feedback. The platform aims to offer transportation strategies that:
• Expand travel options;
• Reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
• Improve ‘walkability’;
• Promote bicycling;
• Encourage physical activity;
• Improve health; and
• Promote safety.
With over 15,000 members working in more than 90 countries, the ITE is one of the world’s largest communities of transportation professionals, including, engineers, planners, consultants, educators, technologists and researchers.
ITE will assist Streetsmart with the review and translation of research results; form and support one or more potential user focus groups; recruit pilot agencies and manage pilot projects; support applications for funding; and connect ITE member transportation professionals to the availability and usefulness of the online transport evaluation tool.
“The relationship between certain transportation strategies, such as traffic calming, and the goals we have for our communities, such as improved safety and health, have been described and documented in the research literature. However, this information isn’t readily accessible to those who need it: planners, engineers, elected officials, and the communities they serve,” explained Streetsmart executive director Kelly Rodgers.
“As an interactive web-based tool, Streetsmart illuminates these relationships in a visually rich and compelling way using the best evidence available, making data that were generally inaccessible, more actionable.”
Jeffrey Paniati, the ITE’s executive director and CEO, noted, “This tool will help ITE members advance the goals of our Transportation and Health initiative. Helping our members and the greater transportation community make meaningful connections between transportation practice and the health of all transportation system users is of great importance. We’re excited to be working with Kelly Rodgers and her team at Streetsmart to effectively publicize this information to the groups that need it most.”