Scottish transport ‘health check’ tool developed

An easy-use academic research archive that simplifies public transport research will help guide policy makers on transport decisions to improve public health.

The tool aims to help policymakers breakthrough the technical jargon often characteristic of public transport research by providing one-page plain English summaries of transport research in a single database.

The tool will help planners and policymakers to easily access useful research on issues varying from motorist and pedestrian behaviour to infrastructure and sustainability and specific issues relating to transport and health like promoting physical activity and reducing car usage.

Professor Adrian Davis, the world’s first professor of transport and health, who will develop the summaries, said that he hopes the tool will improve public health outcomes by helping policymakers access relevant research on the relationship between health and public transport.

Professor Adrian Davis

“There’s a whole load of literature here that the practitioners working in municipal authorities don’t read,” he told Government News.

“My job is to dejargonise it and put it on one page. Bringing science to democracies to enable them to work more efficiently and to have the best available evidence.  It’s really simple but most of the time it doesn’t happen, most of the time there’s a disconnect.”

At least 20 summaries will be produced in the first year, and the resource will build over time to an extensive library of resources.

Professor Davis says the tool will help practitioners make more informed public transport planning decisions.

“It’s really for practitioners to bridge the gap between the research generated, the knowledge that’s there and with people who might keep in ivory tower and translating it into physical knowledge transition into usable formats that are short and dejargonised.”

The City of Bristol has already had success utilising an earlier version of Professor Davis’ tool developed in 2008 whilst developing a cycle route, according to Professor Davis.

Professor Davis said that he hopes the tool will work to help policymakers better guider investment in public transport infrastructure.

“It’s confidence for politicians and senior officers that they’re making the best recommendations and choices based on best available evidence which don’t otherwise have,” he said.

“And the ultimate aim is to improve public health outcome, have less people being ill.”

The archive will be hosted here.

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