Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/1474
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Health Sciences and Sport Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Assessing the unintended health impacts of road transport policies and interventions: translating research evidence for use in policy and practice
Authors: Thomson, Hilary
Jepson, Ruth
Hurley, Fintan
Douglas, Margaret
Contact Email: ruth.jepson@stir.ac.uk
Issue Date: Sep-2008
Publisher: BioMed Central Ltd.
Citation: Thomson H, Jepson R, Hurley F & Douglas M (2008) Assessing the unintended health impacts of road transport policies and interventions: translating research evidence for use in policy and practice, BMC Public Health, 8 (Article 339), pp. 1-13.
Abstract: Background: Transport and its links to health and health inequalities suggest that it is important to assess both the direct and unintended indirect health and related impacts of transport initiatives and policies. Health Impact Assessment (HIA) provides a framework to assess the possible health impacts of interventions such as transport. Policymakers and practitioners need access to well conducted research syntheses if research evidence is to be used to inform these assessments. The predictive validity of HIA depends heavily on the use and careful interpretation of supporting empirical evidence. Reviewing and digesting the vast volume and diversity of evidence in a field such as transport is likely to be beyond the scope of most HIAs. Collaborations between HIA practitioners and specialist reviewers to develop syntheses of best available evidence applied specifically to HIA could promote the use of evidence in practice. Methods: Best available research evidence was synthesised using the principles of systematic review. The synthesis was developed to reflect the needs of HIA practitioners and policymakers. Results: Aside from injury reduction measures, there is very little empirical data on the impact of road transport interventions. The possibility of impacts on a diverse range of outcomes and differential impacts across groups, make it difficult to assess overall benefit and harm. In addition, multiple mediating factors in the pathways between transport and hypothesised health impacts further complicate prospective assessment of impacts. Informed by the synthesis, a framework of questions was developed to help HIA practitioners identify the key questions which need to be considered in transport HIA. Conclusion: Principles of systematic review are valuable in producing syntheses of best available evidence for use in HIA practice. Assessment of the health impacts of transport interventions is characterised by much uncertainty, competing values, and differential or conflicting impacts for different population groups at a local or wider level. These are issues pertinent to the value of HIA generally. While uncertainty needs explicit acknowledgement in HIA, there is still scope for best available evidence to inform the development of healthy public policy.
Type: Journal Article
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/1474
URL: http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/8/339
DOI Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1471-2458-8-339
Rights: Published in BMC Public Health by BioMed Central Ltd.; © 2008 Thomson et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.; Publisher statement: "This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited".
Affiliation: MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit
HS Research - Stirling
Institute of Occupational Medicine
NHS Lothian

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