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This website is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated.

The Healthy Community Design Initiative, also known as the Built Environment and Health Initiative, is no longer a funded program and the information on this website is not being reviewed and updated on a regular basis.


Active transportation – any self-propelled, human-powered mode of transportation.

Complete Streets – roadways designed and operated to enable safe, attractive, and comfortable access and travel for all users, including, but not limited to, pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities. Specific aspects of a complete street are dependent on the context in which the roadway is located (urban, rural, heavy traffic volume, numerous pedestrian destinations, etc.), and may include: sidewalks, bike lanes (or wide paved shoulders), special bus lanes, comfortable and accessible transit stops, frequent crossing opportunities, median islands, accessible pedestrian signals, curb extensions, and more.

Greenhouse gas emissions – gases that trap heat in the atmosphere such as carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). Some greenhouse gases such as CO2 occur naturally and are emitted to the atmosphere through natural processes and human activities. Other greenhouse gases (e.g., fluorinated gases) are created and emitted solely through human activities, such as CO2, CH4, N2O, and fluorinated gases.

Health impact assessment (HIA) – a method by which a policy, program, or project may be judged as to its potential effects—and distribution of those effects—on the health of the population.

High occupancy vehicle lane – Exclusive road/traffic lane limited to buses, van/carpools, & emergency vehicles.

Highway Trust Fund – The United States Highway Trust Fund was established in 1956 to enable financing for maintenance of the United States Interstate Highway System and certain other roads. The fund has three accounts – the ‘Highway Account’, the ‘Mass Transit Account’ and the ‘Leaking Underground Storage Tank Trust Fund’. Money in the fund is raised via a federal fuel tax per gallon on gasoline and diesel fuel and related excise taxes.

Public transportation – Transportation by bus, rail, or other conveyance, either publicly or privately owned, which provides to the public general or special service on a regular and continuing basis. Also known as “mass transportation”, “mass transit” and “transit.”

Safe Routes to Schools – The Safe Routes to Schools Program is a Federal-Aid program of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, created by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users Act (SAFETEA-LU). The purposes of the program are: 1) to enable and encourage all children to walk and bicycle to school; 2) to make bicycling and walking to school a safer and more appealing transportation alternative; and 3) to facilitate the planning, development, and implementation of projects and activities that will improve safety and reduce traffic, fuel consumption, and air pollution in the vicinity (approximately 2 miles) of primary and middle schools (Grades K-8).

Safety audits and assessments – a method by which a policy, program, or project may be judged as to its potential effects on the safety of the population.

Shared-use paths – A path physically separated from motor vehicle traffic by an open space or barrier and either within a highway right-of-way or an independent right-of-way, used by bicyclists, pedestrians, joggers, skaters and other non-motorized travelers.

Transit-oriented development – Compact, mixed-use development near transit facilities with high-quality walking environments

Vehicle miles traveled (VMT) – A unit to measure vehicle travel made by a private vehicle, such as an automobile, van, pickup truck, or motorcycle. Each mile traveled is counted as one vehicle mile regardless of the number of persons in the vehicle.