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Transportation and Public Health e-Newsletter

November 2010 Contact Us   |   Sign up for this E-Newsletter   |   Send to a Friend 


Greetings public health leaders, advocates and supporters,

It's been an exciting and busy month! Thank you to all of our members, colleagues and friends who were able to attend the APHA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado this month. The meeting was an incredible success!

This year’s proCBJgram was full of new research, evidence and trends in the field. There were numerous outstanding sessions to choose from, and if you want to relive the Opening Session (or view it for the first time), take a look at these captivating videos from:

  • Dr. Bill Jenkins CWC
  • Dr. Cornel West
  • and more!

View videos via the Annual Meeting Blog.

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

Thank you!



APHA Highlights



News from the American Journal of Public Health

The November 2010 edition of the American Journal of Public Health centered on Social Justice and offered readers an abundance of articles of interest to public health and transportation professionals and advocates; abstracts are available online (full text available to APHA members):

Emerging Issues in Improving Food and Physical Activity Environments: Strategies for Addressing Land Use, Transportation, and Safety in 3 California-Wide Initiatives

Impact of the Penalty Points System on Road Traffic Injuries in Spain: A Time–Series Study

Utilization of Research in Policymaking for Graduated Driver Licensing

Trends in Fatalities From Distracted Driving in the United States, 1999 to 2008


Insights from the APHA Annual Meeting on Environmental Justice (from APHA's Mira Schainker)

The good news: environmental justice is getting more attention these days among a range of federal health agencies. The bad news: Research demonstrates that adverse health impacts from climate change, a large part of which comes from transportation sources, have disproportionate impacts on vulnerable populations and marginalized communities. Unfortunately, there’s no easy fix. Research shows that those who suffer most from these adverse health impacts are those least responsible for contributing to it. In fact, harmful amounts of ground-level ozone and air pollution are already having a disproportionate impact on communities of color and other disadvantaged groups.

National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities is making efforts to address determinants of health via studies on health outcomes. The findings show that the built environment, housing, poverty and nutrition all factor into social inequities and health disparities. The biggest finding over a range of research efforts led by the center? The smaller the income gap, the lower the level of health disparities.

Although there is no immediate or obvious policy fix, the
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working to integrate environmental justice into its decision-making and — most importantly — into its rule making. EPA’s Office of Environmental Justice is charged with paving the way for integrating environmental justice into the regulatory process. Isn't it nice to see issues of social justice make it all the way to the top?


Transportation and Public Health Intern Sought

APHA seeks an intern to support its program on transportation and public health. Know of any excellent candidates? Please share the online application with them!


  Resources and News on Transportation and Health


What the Federal Election Results Mean for a Transportation Bill

(content from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership included with permission)

Last week's elections are resulting in many changes in Congress. First and foremost, Congressman James Oberstar (D-MN), Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, lost his House seat in a close re-election. Since the House of Representatives has changed to Republican control, there will be a shift in leadership at the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee that governs transportation policy. Republicans will select their Committee chairs at the end of November, and it is expected that Rep. Mica (R-FL) will likely be selected to lead the Transportation Committee. The top "ranking member" spot for Democrats will likely go to either Rep. Rahall (D-WV) or Rep. DeFazio (D-OR).

In the Senate, Democrats retained control of the chamber and it is likely that the Committee on Environment and Public Works, which handles transportation, will remain under the leadership of Chairman Boxer (D-CA) and Ranking Member Inhofe (R-OK).

In terms of the overall transportation bill, the presumed House Transportation Chair Mica has already gone on the record indicating that he will work hard to pass a robust, long-term transportation bill. Getting that done will require bipartisan collaboration in a split Congress. And, funding the transportation bill remains a problem - Congress will have to identify a new revenue sources amenable to both Republicans and Democrats, or move forward with a smaller transportation bill. In the meantime, Congress must pass a transportation extension before December 31, 2010. A shorter extension could indicate that Congressional leaders are interested in working on a multi-year transportation bill.


Fatal Crashes Drop Among 16 and 17 Year Old Drivers

As reported in the October 22 issue of the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the rate of 16 to 17 year old drivers involved in fatal crashes decreased from 27.1 (per 100,000 population) to 16.7 (per 100,000 population) in four years.

This drop between 2004 and 2008 continues an extended decline. The CDC notes that states interested in further reducing fatal crashes involving young drivers should "reexamine and update graduated driver licensing (GDL) programs, and communities should vigorously enforce laws on minimum legal drinking age, blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and safety belt use."


Conference on the Health of Commercial Truck Drivers

The CDC has indicated that the average life expectancy for a commercial truck driver is a staggeringly brief 61 years, which is 16 years lower than the national average. The first International Conference on Commercial Driver Health and Wellness was held earlier this month in Baltimore, Maryland. The conference united motor carriers, academic researchers, health officials and state transportation officials to better understand the health challenges for drivers and to determine what can be implemented as solutions.


  Get Involved


Comment on DOT and EPA Fuel Efficiency Standards for Trucks and Buses

The EPA and DOT announced the first national standards to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve fuel efficiency of heavy-duty trucks and buses. This program aims to reduce GHG emissions by nearly 250 million metric tons over five years. Also, technologies promoted in this program could improve air quality. The federal agencies have provided a 60-day comment period; the proposal and information on submitting comments is posted online at both the EPA and NHTSA websites: and


America Walks' Vision Statement Promotes Health and EquityNYC Raynault

America Walks, a national non-profit organization, is working for safe and attractive streets, neighborhoods and public places that encourage walking. The organization recently released a Vision Statement for a Walkable America. The vision includes community policies that promote public health, economic vitality, environmental sustainability, and social equity. Read more online, where you may also sign onto the Vision Statement.


Tell Congress Transportation Policy is a Public Health Issue

Join APHA in sending a message to the new Congress urging that they ensure that strong public health provisions are included in the federal surface transportation reauthorization.


Walk Friendly Communities Launched

There is a new initiative to encourage communities across the country to support pedestrian safety called Walk Friendly Communities (WFC). The WFC initiative evaluates walkability and pedestrian safety through questions related to engineering, education, enforcement, planning and more. Any community that applies for a WFC designation may access resources on how to improve pedestrian safety. Applications will be accepted between November 1 and December 15, 2010. Walk Friendly Communities is supported by both the Federal Highway Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For more information, please visit  


  Upcoming Events


November 14-17 - American Trails National Symposium: Chattanooga, TN

November 30 – Webinar on Creating Aging-Friendly Communities


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

February 3-5 - New Partners for Smart Growth: Building Safe, Healthy, and Livable Communities: Charlotte, NC

March 8-10 – National Bike Summit: Washington, DC

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

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


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