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Transportation and Public Health e-Newsletter

September 2010 Sign up for this E-Newsletter   |   Send this to a Friend 


Greetings public health leaders, advocates and supporters, Transportation and Public Health

Welcome to the inaugural edition of the APHA Transportation and Public Health e-Newsletter. Our regular features will include recent reports, studies and news focused on transportation, public health and equity topics, current tools to assist you in expanding your knowledge about the interconnections across these topics, and a compilation of upcoming events. We have a flurry of activities planned in the next few months to continue the recent momentum.

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


APHA Highlights

How transportation policy affects the nation's health and contributes to health inequalities

Transportation systems and policies impact the public's health in myriad ways, partly via roadway fatalities and injuries, air pollution impacts and opportunities for physical activity. Two new fact sheets contain statistics that highlight how transportation affects health, as well as specifics on what initiatives and policies APHA supports.

APHA is collecting case studies that show how communities of all types – urban, rural, suburban – and with budgets of all sizes are addressing transportation and public health impacts. While there is no single ‘best’ solution that is appropriate for every place, there are many implementable strategies in the case studies collected to date that can build and maintain healthy transportation systems for all communities. The fact sheets and the case studies may be found online in APHA's public health and transportation online toolkit

News from the Nation’s Health

In recent issues of The Nation’s Health, you can read about:

Transportation and health to be featured at the APHA Annual Meeting

Our Annual Meeting consists of more than 1,000 scientific sessions, roundtables, posters, pre-convention APHA Learning Institutes and panel discussions at which over 4,000 scientific papers will be presented.

Several of these sessions and papers are related to the intersection of public health, safety, equity and transportation, such as:

Annual Meeting online registration is available at

  New Resources
The Connection between Public Transportation and Health

The American Public Transportation Association has developed a report titled Evaluating Public Transportation Health Benefits. The main finding is that people living close to public transportation have healthier lives. Benefits experienced by communities close to public transportation include fewer roadway fatalities, improved air quality and improved physical and mental health.

Obesity in America Researched in 'F as in Fat'
The Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have released a report titled ‘F as in Fat’ on the obesity epidemic in America; more than two-thirds of states have adult obesity rates greater than 25%. Methodologies that may combat obesity, such as Complete Streets, are suggested for inclusion in the upcoming federal surface transportation authorization. 

Charlotte Public Transit Users Lose Weight
Referencing data from a newly-built light rail line in Charlotte, North Carolina, a study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine shows how public transit can bolster walking for regular public transit users. The transit riders in the region were roughly seven pounds lighter than their driving counterparts. The study also was profiled in NPR’s health blog.

NHTSA Materials for Hispanic Audiences
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has developed Spanish-language resources to inform Latino audiences about pedestrian and bicycle regulations. The English as a second language (ESL) curriculum allows students to learn the basic principles of pedestrian and bicyclist safety, as well as practice English; the curriculum includes instructor guides, student handbooks and audio messages.

  Get Involved

Tell Congress Transportation Policy is a Public Health Issue

Send a message to your members of Congress urging that they ensure that strong public health provisions are included in the federal surface transportation reauthorization.

Submit Comments to FHWA’s STEP Cooperative Research Program

Section 5207 of the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users (SAFETEA-LU) established the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Surface Transportation Environment and Planning (STEP) Cooperative Research Program. Through September 30th, FHWA is collecting submissions online for research topics that should be pursued across diverse emphasis areas, including air quality, livability, pedestrians/bicyclists and public involvement.

Attend the PolicyLink and Transportation for America Equity Caucus

On Wednesday, September 29, 2010, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm in Room 121 of Cannon House Office Building, PolicyLink and Transportation for America will host an evening reception to celebrate the launch of their Equity Caucus. Led by the nation’s leading civil rights, community development, racial justice, economic justice, faith-based, public health, housing, labor, environmental justice, tribal, and transportation organizations, the Equity Caucus advocates for transportation policies that expand opportunity for lower income people and communities of color. At the reception, members of this Caucus will share principles and policy priorities to build a transportation system that allows all people to participate and prosper in our nation’s economy. Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) will deliver a keynote address at the event. If you would like to attend this event, please contact Anita Hairston at 202-906-8034 or by Friday September 24, 2010.

Help shape the future of Safe Routes to School

Throughout 2010, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership (SRTSNP) has been working to develop a five-year strategic plan for the years 2011-2015. The draft 2011-2015 Strategic Plan is now available for comment. All surveys and comments on the strategic plan are due by October 11, 2010, and responses are confidential. After receiving this input, the SRTSNP will make any necessary revisions and finalize the strategic plan this fall.


  Upcoming Events

September 21 - Distracted Driving Summit: Washington, DC.

September 22 - Building Livable Communities: Creating a Common Agenda: Washington, DC.

October 6 - International Walk to School Day: nationwide.

October 10 - Put the Brakes on Fatalities Day: nationwide.

October 17-21 - International Making Cities Livable Conference: Charleston, SC.

October 27-29 - International Conference on Urban Health: New York, NY.

November 6-10 - APHA Annual Meeting: Denver, CO.

January 23-27 - TRB Annual Meeting: Washington, DC.

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