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What are the most effective ways of improving population health through transport interventions? Evidence from systematic reviews
  1. D S Morrison1,
  2. M Petticrew2,
  3. H Thomson2
  1. 1Greater Glasgow NHS Board, Glasgow, UK
  2. 2MRC Social and Public Health Sciences Unit, Glasgow, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr D S Morrison, Greater Glasgow NHS Board, Homelessness Partnership, 1st floor, 32 Albion Street, Glasgow G1 1LH, UK;


Study objective: To review systematic review literature that describes the effectiveness of transport interventions in improving population health.

Methods: Systematic review methodology was used to evaluate published and unpublished systematic reviews in any language that described the measured health effects of any mode of transport intervention.

Main results: 28 systematic reviews were identified. The highest quality reviews indicate that the most effective transport interventions to improve health are health promotion campaigns (to prevent childhood injuries, to increase bicycle and motorcycle helmet use, and to promote children’s car seat and seatbelt use), traffic calming, and specific legislation against drink driving. Driver improvement and education courses are associated with increases in crash involvement and violations.

Conclusions: Systematic reviews are able to provide evidence about effective ways of improving health through transport related interventions and also identify well intentioned but harmful interventions. Valuable additional information may exist in primary studies and systematic reviews have a role in evaluating and synthesising their findings.

  • transport
  • systematic review

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  • Funding: David Morrison, Mark Petticrew and Hilary Thomson are funded by the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Executive Department of Health. The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the Chief Scientist Office.

  • Competing interests: Mark Petticrew is a Member of the ESRC Network for Evidence Based Policy and Practice.

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