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Transportation and Public Health e-Newsletter

February 2011 Contact Us   |   Sign up for this E-Newsletter   |   Send to a Friend 


Greetings public health leaders and advocates,

Thank you to everyone who participated in the first webinar in our series: What Healthy Communities Need from their Transportation Networks. More than 3,400 people registered for the webinar! In case you missed it, or if you would like more information about the series, visit our transportation website or read the Get Involved section below. Our next webinar, which addresses the health benefits from active transportation and more, will be on February 15, 2011 from 2-3 PM Eastern. Join us!

We hope that you’ll share this e-newsletter with friends, family and colleagues.

Thank you,

The American Public Health Association



APHA Highlights



Safety is the theme for next year's National Public Health Week at APHA

Creating a healthier nation starts with creating a safer nation — and that means taking steps to protect neighbors, families and communities from harm. Unintentional injuries, such as motor vehicle crashes, are listed in the top 10 causes of death for people ages 1-44. Injuries are not “accidents,” and we can prevent them from happening. Taking actions such as wearing a seatbelt, properly installing and using child safety seats and wearing a helmet are important ways to proactively promote safety and prevent injuries. Join APHA during National Public Health Week (NPHW) from April 4-10, 2011.


APHA’s Injury Control & Emergency Health Services (ICEHS) Section

by APHA member: T. Bella Dinh-Zarr

Transportation issues are of vital importance to members of the ICEHS section.  Many of the members work specifically in road traffic injury, but they also have an interest because transportation equity and environmental issues are integral to public health as a whole.  Injury prevention and emergency health services is an ever expanding world – in fact, the ICEHS section is now in the midst of discussing how disaster preparedness (which includes transporting people in affected areas) can best fit into its work.

The ICEHS section will be reaching out to other sections on transportation and other issues to find common areas of collaboration.  A great strength of APHA (and how it compliments more specific-topic professional associations) is in these linkages and how they encourage members to have a broader view of the world.  Some transportation-related issues that are clearly meant for interdisciplinary collaboration include:  helping aging drivers and pedestrians stay safely mobile, contributing to international road infrastructure to enable better access to medical care (and emergency response), improving the built environment for accessibility, integrating traffic injury prevention – the leading cause of death for young people- into medical training, addressing crashes as an occupational health issue, vision screening as a tool for improving driver safety, and more!  There are countless interesting and useful areas to address with other sections to make a positive impact on public health. There also are some exciting opportunities coming soon: 

  • April 4-10; National Public Health Week: “Safety is No Accident: Live Injury Free”:
  • May 1-7; North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week:
  • May 11, 2011; United Nations “Decade of Action for Road Safety” (2011-2010):

Please contact T. Bella Dinh-Zarr, PhD, MPH, or any ICEHS section officer to get involved.  Visit for more information.


Walkability: Improving Health and Happiness

by APHA member: Malisa McCreedy  

To have healthy people we must have healthy cities. It is challenging to have good health when the environments in which we live thwart our efforts. For cities and towns to be more walkable, bicycle and transit friendly, livable, sustainable, prosperous, socially engaging and welcoming places, their built form must support these activities comfortably and conveniently.

Communities seek ways to have residents of all ages improve their long-term health, wellness and happiness through walking as part of natural lifestyles. Walking is the activity that almost every person, of any ethnicity, income or physical ability can enjoy while reaping the health benefits of daily physical exercise, improved mental health and social wellbeing.

Cities large and small, are rethinking their built environment, adding plazas and safer crossings, allowing mixed uses for housing, blending office, retail, and residential housing, to bring residents back to their community centers, building  vibrant, bustling economies while encouraging environmental sustainability and both social and transportation equity.

A key way to change built environments and encourage walkability is through building placement, with buildings "greeting people" and watching over the street. The Healthy Building Placement Guide is the first of thirty Town Maker Tools, created by the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, to help us understand how to evolve our towns to be more people friendly and healthy.

Please contact Malisa McCreedy, AICP, Walkable and Livable Communities Institute, at (407) 701-2191 to get involved.  Visit for more information. 


  Resources and News on Transportation and Health


Differences in Physical Activity may be Linked to a Car-Oriented Society

A study published in the Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise Journal compared health metrics in people taking fewer steps per day than those in other developed nations with similar, high levels of income and standards of living.


The Costs of Obesity

The Society of Actuaries recently approximated the economic costs of overweight people (i.e., BMI between 25.0-29.9) and obese people (i.e., BMI of more than 30) at $300 billion per year.


Do Your Streets Help Boost Your Activity Levels?Feb 2011 eNewsletter - Roadway - Raynault

The Journal of Physical Activity and Health recently published a study where surveying showed that 57 percent of adult Americans think community infrastructure (such as sidewalks, lighting, etc.) has a high importance in determining personal levels of physical activity. According to the survey, communities of color are more willing to take civic action on these issues.


Connections between Active Transportation and Jobs

According to a new report from the Political Economy Research Institute, building bike lanes and pedestrian facilities creates more jobs per million dollars spent than road repairs and road resurfacing.


Developing Public Participation Tools in Transit Dependent Communities

Project for Public Spaces (PPS), the UCLA Department of Urban Planning and the Latino Urban Forum created new tools that will more effectively engage transit riders in the transit station, system and network planning process - especially for minority, non-English speaking and low-income communities.


How Transportation Benefits Rural Residents

When Minnesota state officials sought to determine what services rural residents – senior citizens in particular - need the most, transportation topped the list.


Increasing Physical Activity Through Community Design

The IPA Guide serves as a manual for restoring your neighborhood or community to a place where walking and bicycling are easy, convenient and safe transportation options. The IPA Guide explores how we have constructed barriers to active living, and explains what effects these barriers have had on the health of children, seniors, and everyone in between.


Free Teleconference on Accessibility in Liable and Sustainable Communities

Project ACTION will host a teleconference on March 9, 2011 on the importance of accessibility for people with disabilities in planning for the development of livable and sustainable communities. Register online.


RSS Resource on Safety Research

SafetyLit is a free service of the Center for Injury Prevention Policy and Practice at San Diego State University in cooperation with the World Health Organization. SafetyLit provides an RSS feed of recently published transportation safety-related research articles. Visit for more information.


What are the Costs and Benefits of Bicycling Investments?

The Journal of Physical Activity and Health recently published a study that shows that the benefit-cost ratios for health care and fuel savings from cycling investments are as high as 3.8 to 1. Read more online.


Annual Urban Mobility Report Now Available

The Texas Transportation Institute at Texas A&M University has released its annual report on urban mobility. Visit to see how urban areas in the U.S. compare.


  Get Involved


Participate in Listening Sessions on Transportation

Rep. John Mica (R-Florida), chair of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, intends to hold “listening sessions” outside of the beltway to help craft a new multi-year federal surface transportation bill. These listening sessions are a way for public health professionals to share their ideas on how health factors into transportation and what needs to be done.

APHA seeks to provide resources for our members, affiliates and public health partners on the need for improved transportation systems and built environments that serve, build and sustain healthy communities and bring greater opportunities for health, safety and equity. All communities – whether urban, suburban, rural or tribal - in the U.S. should be provided opportunities for health via their transportation networks.

Be a part of the process - attend one of the sessions and share your inputs. The tentative schedule and locations follow (see 

  • February 14: West Virginia
  • February 17: Philadelphia area
  • February 18: Upstate New York (Rochester)
  • February 19-20: Ohio (Columbus), Indiana (Indianapolis) and Illinois
  • February 21-23: Oregon (Portland), Washington (Vancouver), California (Fresno) and southern California

For more information about APHA’s work on health and transportation, visit


Upcoming Webinars on Health and Transportation 

Join APHA for a free webinar series in 2011: What Healthy Communities Need from their Transportation Networks

Join us for this series that explores the intersections between health and transportation, highlights innovative state and local programs that leverage opportunities in transportation that benefit health, and explains what the future may hold for the federal surface transportation authorization.

If you would like to register, please click here. Note: If you registered for the first webinar, there is no need to register for the remaining ones. You are on the roster!




Webinar 2: The Health Benefits from Active Transportation

Learn how active transportation improves health across various populations and learn of programs that promote and implement active transportation in their communities. Presentations by:

  • Jeffrey Miller, Alliance for Biking & Walking
  • Amanda Woodall, Active Transportation Alliance
  • David Godfrey, City of Kirkland, Washington

February 15, 2011: 2-3 pm EST

Webinar 3: Health Impact Assessments (HIAS) in Transportation

The health impact assessment (HIA) is gaining huge momentum as a tool to address the social and environmental determinants of health, particularly on transportation-related projects and policies. Presentations by:

  • Jonathan Heller, Human Impact Partners
  • Megan Wier, San Francisco Department of Public Health
  • Heidi Guenin, Upstream Public Health

March 15, 2011: 2-3 pm EST

Webinar 4: Preventing Roadway Fatalities and Injuries

Understand the public health professional’s role in roadway safety and learn of innovative programs to prevent roadway fatalities and injuries, in particular for vulnerable populations. Presentations by:

  • Linda C. Degutis, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Sandra Viera, Prevention Institute
  • Russell H. Henk, Texas Transportation Institute, Teens in the Driver Seat Program
  • Buz Barbour, Hillsborough County Senior Zone Program

April 5, 2011: 2-3 pm EST

See you at our webinar series in 2011! Please send this to any colleagues who might be interested! 


  Upcoming Events


February 22-24 - The Active Living Research Annual Conference: San Diego

March 8-10 – National Bike Summit: Washington, D.C.

March 27-29 - National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities: Lifesavers 2011: Phoenix

June 1-4 - Congress for the New Urbanism: Madison

July 21-23 - Re: Streets Conference: Berkeley

August 16-18 - Safe Routes to School National Conference: Minneapolis

October 29 - November 2 - APHA Annual Meeting: Washington, D.C.

November 9–12 - Rail~Volution Washington, D.C. 


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