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Jan 26

Got a ‘drive’ for good health?

Posted on January 26, 2019 at 12:51 PM by Katie Combs Prichard

The connections between transportation and health might not be obvious to some, but they are many.

Of course, traffic crashes and air pollution can harm one’s health in very tangible ways.

But other byproducts of poor transportation can have effects as well. Long commutes mean more sitting and less physical activity. Here in Placer, the average commute to work is 27 minutes – close to the national average. Just around 2 percent of people walk to work, with about 1 percent each riding public transportation or riding a bike. A lack of transportation can also have a major impact on one’s ability to access healthcare, employment and education.

These are just some of the reasons why building a strong transportation infrastructure is key to community health. Locally, the Placer County Transportation Planning Agency makes decisions about our region’s transportation system, identifying needs and setting the vision for projects to come. They’ve worked closely with our Public Health team to ensure that health is one of the factors considered as they move into the future. Find them online at or on Facebook.

In the shorter term, though, there are also many things people can do on an individual level to make their daily commutes – or even just our trip to the grocery store – as healthy as possible.

First, many companies are now starting to offer work-from-home and telecommuting options that can help reduce congestion, and even just one day a week can make a big impact. Walking to work may not be feasible for many, but biking once or twice a week could be more attainable – just make sure you’ve mapped out a safe route!

And, consider taking public transportation on occasion to help further reduce road congestion. There are a variety of options in our region. Placer County Transit is a fixed-route bus service operating in the cities and towns of western Placer County, and connecting passengers to Sacramento Regional Transit’s light rail and bus systems. Dial-A-Ride offers paratransit and general curb-to-curb service in western Placer County. The Placer Commuter Express is a weekday commuter bus service from western Placer County to downtown Sacramento. Finally, the Tahoe Truckee Area Regional Transit operates fixed-route bus and paratransit service in eastern Placer County, connecting the north shore of Lake Tahoe with neighboring Incline Village and Truckee. There are also classes available for seniors and others who might need help navigating the transit system. Find more information on transit options online at

Small modifications to your daily routine can have a big cumulative effect over time. Every little bit counts!

Be Well,

Dr. Rob, Robert Oldham, is Placer County’s public health officer and lives in Roseville. Contact his office at (530-889-7141.