Oregon Vehicle Miles Traveled Legislation

Upstream Public Health, Northwest Health Foundation

Upstream Public Health conducted this health impact assessment (HIA) of proposed state legislation designed to reduce car use and ultimately meet greenhouse gas emission targets to help curb global warming. The proposed legislation would provide funds to Oregon’s six Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) to design and implement vehicle miles traveled (VMT) plans using a variety of policies, such as VMT tax and investments in public transit. Specifically, the HIA looked at 11 proposed strategies for reducing the number of vehicle miles traveled in the state and assessed them as they relate to physical activity patterns, air pollution, and vehicle collision rates. The HIA found that five of the policies would be the most beneficial to the well-being of the public. These policies include maximizing the density of neighborhoods already within the urban growth boundary,requiring new developments be mixed‐use and high‐density with good connectivity, improving pedestrian infrastructure of neighborhoods, increasing the coverage area for public transportation, and requiring businesses in metropolitan areas to charge a fee for employee parking. The HIA recommended a combination of these strategies be adopted to decrease individual driving and lower VMT in Oregon.

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