Health and Transport

Everyone travels or lives on streets. Where they are well designed with health and wellbeing goals in mind, they can be at the heart of cohesive and supportive communities. They can encourage physical activity by making it easier to walk and cycle, and have wider impacts on everyone’s health by reducing air pollution and increasing the feeling of safety.

Streets that make the West Midlands healthier and happier will also make it more economically active. Transport can play a large part in increasing productivity and reducing the demand for public services by preventing ill health and improving the wellbeing of people at work.

Life expectancies in the West Midlands have increased, even since 2001, and in some areas men are expected to live to 80.4 years old and women 84.2 years old. However, recent years have seen a slow-down in the rate that they are increasing, and life expectancy in some parts of the West Midlands may even be decreasing.

Healthy life expectancies are lower. The lowest male healthy life expectancy is in Wolverhampton where men are expected to live 56.4 years in good health. Similarly, in Walsall women are expected to live 59 years in good health.

There are also inequalities in health. Some of the more deprived areas within the West Midlands have even lower healthy life expectancies and people might only expect to life for 50 years in good health. This is a barrier to inclusive economic growth in the West Midlands.

Transport investment to improve health has a large impact. The number of people who might benefit from interventions can be large. Transport can improve health by several different ways, and where schemes are designed to address many of these the benefits can be maximised.

Our approach to improving public health through transport is set out in our new Health and Transport Strategy.