The quality of a transportation system is one of the most fundamental factors in the health of a community. Physical health. Mental health. Economic health. Successful transportation is the at the core of what makes a community and it's people thrive.

In Bend, many residents face challenges that make good transportation options even more important. Census data shows that 13 percent of Bend residents — about 12,000 people — live in poverty and owning and driving a vehicle can be a luxury. Over 5% of households do not have a car — that's 5,000 families. And as they age, our growing senior population may be forced or choose to stop driving. Census data shows that 6.6 percent, or more than 6,000 people, are living with a disability.

To succeed, all these people need to be able to get to work, school, doctors appointments, the grocery store, social activities, and more.

When it comes to physical health, active transportation options such as walking, biking, and taking the bus all have been shown to make significant improvements in weight loss, disease management and more. The U.S. Department of transportation has developed a Health Tool where you can learn about the heath impacts of different transportation modes.

St. Charles Health System's Community Engagement Department works to improve the health of Central Oregonians. Their Healthy Communities programs offer classes, recipes and events. But we achieve a healthy community without a transportation system that offers safe and diverse choices leading to better health and wellness.