The National Transportation Atlas (NTA) is a set of nationwide geographic databases of transportation facilities, transportation networks, and the associated infrastructure.
Multiple layers from the 2014 release of the NTA were once incorporated into the Commons. This data was useful to communities looking to make thoughtful transportation decisions for their area, especially when combined with other health data layers.
The following maps provide a starting point for exploration of this data atlas.
This first map looks at crash statistics and mortality rates by location and county. Questions to ask are: What are the circumstances that lead some areas to have lower mortality rates than others? What can one county or state learn from another about increasing safety for drivers and pedestrians? Using this map, along with the ideas and resources from A New Vision to Fix the Tragedy No One Thinks About, could help communities better protect the lives of citizens.
Looking at the Environment
Recently Lisa Garcia stated in The Unfinished Business of the EPA that communities of color, as well as low-income and tribal communities, have an inequitable burden of toxins and hazardous substances that have polluted their air, water, land and their bodies.
This map shows the predominant race/ethnicity of neighborhoods around Dallas, Texas and their proximity to rail lines, which frequently transport chemicals. The data also includes Toxic Release Inventory System Sites, which are actual U.S. facilities in certain industry sectors that manufacture, process, or otherwise use one of the 650 known toxic chemicals in amounts above established levels.
Race/Ethnicity by Neighborhood, Railroad Crossing Locations, and Toxic Sites
The map below also shows data related to hazardous waste transport routes, but highlights their proximity to heavily populated areas and school locations. Communities could combine this data with their own local knowledge to weigh the effects of hazardous material transportation on the health of their citizens.
Planning for the Future
Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) are federally mandated for urbanized areas with populations greater than 50,000 people. They are tasked with making policy decisions regarding the use of federal transportation funds. The NTA data highlights where each MPO is located. When a community is contemplating mass transit creation or expansion, or any large scale transportation planning, an MPO assists with the collaboration of all interested parties.
A Health in All Policies approach to planning recognizes that Health + Transportation are tightly intertwined. When communities have the right data to make informed decisions, those outcomes can positively effect health for generations to come.
Top featured map: Airport and Water Ports by location, NTA 2014.