Light Rail is Good for the Health of Cities and Residents

Luke Hogan's picture

Many people know that a healthy public transit system is vital to the health of an urban area, but who knew this relationship extended to the health of residents? A study published in the August issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that users of Light Rail (LRT) lost an average of 6.45lbs (for a person 5'5" tall) after they began using the train regularly. Additionally, LRT users are 81% less likely to become obese over time.

If LRT has such a dramatic effect on the health of residents, why aren't we including the health cost savings in our budget proposals for transit improvement? It seems a number of our problems stem from our inability to calculate the true cost of how we build cities and the resulting health costs. This is a perfect example. 

The best part about these findings is that you don't even have to think about being healthier to take advantage. Forget going to the gym, watching what you eat, etc. Simply walking that few extra steps everyday to take transit and skipping the urge to drive to the adjacent parking lot rather than walking can have huge impact on your personal health as well as the health of the city and the environment. I'm not saying taking the train makes another slice of pizza ok, but at least you won't feel so guilty about the first few.

Read all about this new study in this Science Daily Article.


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