Transportation and Public Health in Washington, D.C.

It’s important to understand the public health issues that greatly affect certain areas and cities, particularly if you are looking to work or collaborate with professionals who work in that city.

In our nation’s capital, one of the most significant public health challenges being addressed is transportation and its effect on inhabitants of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. The city of D.C. is known across the country for its traffic problems. U.S. News & World Report ranked it the second-worst city in the United States with regard to traffic conditions, and with high traffic volume comes increased air pollution, especially in communities located near major highways and roadways.  

Pollution is not only an environmental problem, it’s also a serious health concern. Childhood asthma is directly linked to long-term exposure to traffic-related air pollution, and asthma is the root cause of many avoidable hospitalizations and emergency room visits in the District of Columbia.

Washington, D.C., has already taken important strides toward improving the city’s environment and health outcomes — it was recently named the world’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum city. LEED is a green building rating system, and this certification recognizes the city’s ongoing efforts to create a sustainable environment by supporting clean energy innovation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and focusing on livability for its residents.     

How Can We Improve Public Health in Cities Like D.C.? 

Large cities across the U.S. need public health professionals to be advocates for reasonable, healthy transportation policies. By collaborating with transportation and public policy stakeholders, public health professionals can work to decrease the amount of traffic-related air pollution, which will help the environment and lower the rate of asthma and other lung conditions treated in local health care facilities.

Take the Next Step

Are you interested in making a difference as a public health policy advocate? Request information about GW’s online Master of Public Health program today.

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