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Transportation and Public Health e-Newsletter

May 2011 Contact Us   |   Join APHA   |   Sign up for this E-Newsletter   |   Send to a Friend 


Greetings public health leaders and advocates,

These are exciting times when considering the many ways our transportation systems impact health and equity. Congress extended the current federal surface transportation bill (SAFETEA-LU) until September 30, 2011, and Congressional Committees are aiming to draft a new transportation bill before this latest extension ends. We invite you to 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. This month's eNewsletter has an array of new events, resources and updates across diverse topics and even an opportunity for funding. We hope that you’ll share this e-newsletter with friends, family and colleagues.

Thank you,

The American Public Health Association



APHA Highlights



National Public Health Week 2011 a success!

Communities across the country celebrated National Public Health Week from April 4 through 10. Events held nationwide during the week highlighted the importance of injury and violence prevention. A Road Tour brought APHA President Linda Rae Murray, MD, MPH, and Executive Director Georges Benjamin, MD, FACP, FACEP (E), to several states to discuss injury prevention. A live Twitter Chat held in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control chirped thousands of tweets.

National Public Health Week also took to Capitol Hill for a briefing with staff and members of Congress that featured CDC’s Injury Center Director Linda Degutis, DrPH, MSN, and others. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson released a video statement about the importance of the week and of safeguarding public health.

President Obama also recognized National Public Health Week by sending a greeting to APHA and NPHW partners. The National Public Health Week Blog featured a number of posts from experts in the field, including leaders of several APHA Sections. In recognition of NPHW, The Hill newspaper published an op-ed by APHA Executive Director Dr. Georges Benjamin in its Congress Blog.


Win a free APHA Annual Meeting registration!

APHA would like to enrich your educational experience in the Public Health Expo during the Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., and we need your help! Please forward the name, city and state of any new companies or organizations that you would like to see included as exhibitors at the 139th Annual Meeting to Priya Bose, APHA meetings and exhibits coordinator, at Include a contact name, email address and phone number. Anyone submitting a qualified lead for potential new exhibitors will be entered into a drawing for a free full registration to the Annual Meeting. Please submit your suggestions before September 30.


New APHA book tackles environmental health and racial equity

From the "father of environmental justice" comes a new, first-rate account of events, individuals and organizations that have shaped the environmental justice movement over the past two decades. Environmental Health and Racial Equity in the United States: Building Environmentally Just, Sustainable and Livable Communities, published by APHA in collaboration with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, is now available for purchase. 


  Resources and News


New report on planning for public health

Last summer, the American Planning Association (APA) conducted a national web-based survey to identify draft and adopted comprehensive and sustainability plans that explicitly address public health. The newly-released survey report provides an overview of the public health topics addressed, public health data and data collection tools used, and the successes and challenges faced by local governments in the inclusion of public health into to the plan. In addition, the report includes a list of the 240 identified comprehensive plans and 27 sustainability plans that explicitly address health.


Visual display of best cities and states for bike commutersDan Burden PBIC

Fast Company magazine has developed a set of infographics that show on a per-state basis what percentage of commuters use bikes; a summary of the ten most popular bicycling cities is also included. Note also how significantly female bicyclists factor into the analysis of these ten cities. So, how does your state rank compared to others? (Image from Dan Burden, PBIC)


Record low traffic deaths in 2010

In 2010, the number of traffic fatalities in the US decreased to the lowest levels since 1949. According to the US Department of Transportation, this decrease “comes despite a sharp increase in the number of miles Americans drove last year - 21 billion additional miles.” Read more about the record low traffic deaths on the blog of Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood: Fast Lane.


New funding opportunity with the Health Impact Project

RWJFThe Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Pew Charitable Trusts, is accepting brief proposals through June 1, 2011 for grants to conduct health impact assessments. The funding will enable awardees to develop a health impact assessment (HIA), which can help policy-makers and community members identify and address the potential, and often-overlooked, health implications of proposed policies and projects in a broad range of sectors such as agriculture, energy, transportation and development. More than 100 HIAs have been completed or are in progress in 23 states across the US, as shown in the Health Impact Project’s new interactive, searchable HIA map. The Health Impact Project will fund up to eight assessments to identify how policy proposals will impact health at the local, tribal or state levels. Grants will range from $25,000 to $125,000 and will support government agencies, educational institutions and nonprofit organizations. To apply online, visit (Image from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation)


Mad Men make online pitch for High Speed Rail

Two lead actors from the hit television show Mad Men throw their support behind high-speed rail in a humorous new online video. The actors and U.S. PIRG developed the video as a way to build excitement for high-speed rail projects around the country. President Obama recently pledged more than $50 billion in federal funding over the next six years and announced a goal in his State of the Union to connect 80 percent of the country with high-speed rail in the next 25 years. 


How transportation impacts access to healthy foods

A report written by the Urban and Environmental Policy Institute in conjunction with Esperanza Community Housing Corporation and the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles analyzes food access in the context of transportation in South Los Angeles. The report suggests cutting-edge community driven policies and programs to link food access, transportation and land use to connect communities with healthy foods.


New CDC fact sheets highlight the costs of fatal crashes

The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2011 to 2020 as the Decade of Action for Road Safety. To kick off this period of enhanced focus on protecting lives on the world's — and our nation's — roads, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is offering new resources that highlight the tremendous cost burden of fatal crashes. Over 30,000 people are killed in motor vehicle crashes each year in the United States. In 2005, in addition to the impact on victims' family and friends, crash deaths resulted in $41 billion nationally in medical and work loss costs. A recent data analysis by CDC also found that on a state-level, these costs ranged from as high as $4.16 billion a year (California) to as low as $73 million (Vermont). For a fact sheet that contains fatal crash-related cost data for your state, please visit, but note that the link will be live tomorrow on 5/11.


New report on transportation policy and access to health care 

As Congress considers a reauthorization of our nation's surface transportation programs, which will allocate significant federal funds to transportation infrastructure, civil and human rights advocates have an opportunity to advance public health through participation in the transportation policymaking process. The Leadership Conference Education Fund's The Road to Health Care Parity: Transportation Policy and Access to Health Care examines how transportation policy can make a positive impact on health conditions by increasing options for commuters, reducing air pollution, and creating better connections to health services.


  Get Involved


Get ‘fired up’ to be more physically active

The new Fire Up Your Feet! program from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership creates champions who are advocating for healthy, livable and sustainable communities across the country. Minnesota is serving as the pilot state for this new program and website community that provides easy-to-use web-based tools to support families as they get started walking or bicycling to school and in their neighborhoods. At parents can track a variety of trips and their family's daily minutes of physical activity. The Safe Routes to School National Partnership also developed a new promotional piece, Changing the Habits of an Entire Generation through Bicycling and Walking, that is full of compelling photos, local stories and personal quotes. It talks about the problems that Safe Routes to School can help address. 


What are your walking habits?

Complete the National Walking Survey from America Walks to help walking advocates understand what motivates avid walkers and what keeps others from walking more. America Walks will use your inputs to help promote walking in America. Interested in how your community ranks in providing walk friendly environments? The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center introduced its Walk Friendly Communities program and recognized the first 11 cities to earn the designation of communities that have improved walkability and pedestrian safety.


May is Bike Month and Bike to Work week is May 16-20!

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center developed a new website with resources and guidance on getting around by bike; visit the website to download materials for event organizers, tips for individual riders and facts for the news media. This news dovetails with a recently-released report that shows how bike riders are more alert and aware than drivers are of road space and traffic. With annual driving costs exceeding $8,000 per person, commuters may benefit from exploring other ways of getting to and from work.   


Safe Walking and Biking for Children 

NHTSA updated the Pedestrian Safety Curriculum for children in grades K-5; this includes age-appropriate lesson plans with suggested scripts, recommended practice activities and tip sheets for parents/caregivers. Additionally, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and AAA have launched a new campaign called Roll Model to encourage parents and caregivers to set positive examples for riding safely.



  Upcoming Events


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

July 10-12 - TRB Joint Summer Meeting: Boston

July 21-23 - Re: Streets Conference: Berkeley

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

October 16-19 - Rail~Volution Washington, D.C.

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

November 8–11 - PolicyLink Equity Summit 2011: Healthy Communities, Strong Regions, A Prosperous America: Detroit 


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