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Transportation and Public Health e-Newsletter

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


Greetings public health leaders and advocates,

There’s been a surge of activity at APHA - and beyond - with the launch of a transportation and health communications toolkit, a corresponding webinar, and health and equity principles on transportation policy!

Additionally, new transportation-related acts that are supportive of health were introduced on the Hill: the Federal Safe Routes to School Program Reauthorization Act (S. 800) to sustain and strengthen this program that encourages children of all abilities to walk and bike to school; the Safe and Complete Streets Act (H.R. 1780; S. 1056) to require states and regions to adopt Complete Streets policies that consider the transportation needs of all users of all abilities; and the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection Act (S. 528) to establish minimum federal requirements for state graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws and encourage all states to adopt GDL laws that meet those minimum requirements.

Take the next step and 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. The newly-launched letters to the editor, op-eds, talking points and more in our new toolkit also are available to you as leaders and supporters of the public health community!

As always, please share this e-newsletter with friends, family and colleagues.

Thank you,

The American Public Health Association



APHA Highlights



APHA webinar launches new communications toolkit on transportation and health

Thank you to everyone who participated in the APHA webinar on our new Transportation and Health Toolkit. More than 800 people attended the webinar!

The Toolkit aims to bridge communication between public health and transportation professionals, and to create a common language for use by public health advocates that ensures their voices are heard. The Transportation and Health Toolkit includes talking points, outreach materials and resources; all of the toolkit materials are downloadable via these links below: 

A) Training and Guiding Principles for Health and Transportation Communications

B) Talking Points APHA transportation toolkit page

C) Outreach Materials

o    Letters to the Editor

o    Email Pitch

o    OpEd

o    Press Release

D) Additional Resources

o    Background Data and Resources

o    Media and Meeting Training

The webinar to launch the toolkit was held on May 31, 2011. View the free, one hour archived webinar at any time. Presenters included APHA’s Susan Polan, CDC’s Jamie Rayman and Fenton’s Joel Finkelstein. On the Toolkit web page, you will also find APHA’s newly released Public Health and Equity Principles for Transportation.


Annual Meeting: sessions on the built environment, opening session updates and more!

Please join us for the APHA 139th Annual Meeting and Exposition this October 29-November 2 in Washington D.C. The meeting will include over 1,000 scientific sessions focusing on the latest public health challenges, 700 booths of state-of-the-art public health products, networking opportunities, Public Health CareerMart, and more. Registration and housing forms are already available, and the early-bird discount will continue until August 19. Special APHA-discounted hotel rates have been negotiated at 20 downtown DC hotels; attendees are able to view hotel photos and details on the APHA housing website. To register, reserve a hotel room, and access more information, visit

At the Opening General Session, Former Senator Tom Daschle, Jonathan Jarvis of the National Park Service and Pamela Hyde of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration will discuss their efforts to create healthy communities in America.Annual Meeting 2011 Logo

This year, the Annual Meeting will include a number of sessions directly relating to the built environment and transportation and public health, including: 

  • 4061.0: Creating Healthier Communities: The Built Environment and Physical Activity (Nov 1, 8:30AM-10:00AM)
  • 4022.0: Transportation & Active Transport to Promote Healthy Communities (Nov 1, 8:30AM-10:00AM)
  • 3001.0: Aging and the Built Environment (Oct 31, 8:30AM-10:00AM)
  • 3065.0: Promoting Active Living through the Built Environment: Planning, Policy, and Evaluation (Oct 31, 8:30AM-10:00AM)
  • 3127.0: Assessing the Role of the Built Environment on Health Behaviors: Obesity, & Chronic Disease (Oct 31, 8:30AM-10:00AM)
  • 3131.0: Getting from here to there: Promoting health and environmental justice in transportation policy (Oct 31, 10:30AM-12:00PM)
  • 3098.0: Poster Session: Built Environment and Healthy Places (Oct 31, 10:30AM)
  • 3195.0: Transportation Related Injuries Posters 1 (Oct 31, 12:30PM)
  • 4021.0: Built Environment & Recession—Effect on Public Health (Nov 1, 8:30AM-10:00AM)

Learn more about planned sessions via the Annual Meeting’s Online Program.


News from recent issues of The Nation’s Health


  Resources and News


Dangerous by Design: addressing pedestrian deaths

From 2000 to 2009, 47,700 Americans were simply walking when they were struck and killed. Another 688,000 were injured in that same time period. These staggering statistics demonstrate how a pedestrian was hit by vehicle every seven minutes over the past ten years in the US. Transportation for America has written a report on the pedestrian fatality crisis in America, titled Dangerous by Design 2011: Solving the Epidemic of Preventable Pedestrian Deaths. The Dangerous by Design website offers a list of the most dangerous states and metropolitan areas in the US, a full report that presents causes and solutions to this national problem, and a map that identifies fatalities at any US address. You can let members of Congress know that you support legislation that will fix roads that are dangerous by design and put an end to the epidemic of preventable pedestrian fatalities and injuries. Also, today marks the launch of another Transportation for America report; this one emphasizes how transit options - or a lack of options - may impact older adults: Aging in Place, Stuck without Options: Fixing the Mobility Crisis Threatening the Baby Boom Generation.


New CDC fact sheets highlight the cost of crash deaths

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 crash deaths. 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 the cost of crash deaths for your state, visit


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation examines active transportation in schools

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has recently completed an in-depth study investigating potential policies and methods that could be instituted in schools to prevent obesity and improve health overall. The study was based on a survey, which gathered information on issues included in the federal wellness policy mandate, as well as others, such as the use of active transportation such as walking and biking among students. ThePhoto by Michael J Cynecki findings indicate that infrastructure supporting active transportation needs to be improved: while around 20% of students in public elementary schools walked or biked to school in 2007-08, almost a third were deterred by school policies preventing students from biking to school. Barriers such as the absence of crossing guards and bike racks prevented many students from using active transportation. View the full report. Photo by Michael J. Cynecki, PBIC.


HIA in practice: Healthy Corridor for All

Last month, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released an issue brief promoting the use of Health Impact Assessment (HIA) to integrate health into all policies. Of all the HIAs conducted to date in the US, approximately 24% have been on transportation-related projects or policies. As an example of the usefulness of HIA, the issue brief highlights a project in St. Paul, MN, entitled Healthy Corridor for All. The project was formed in response to construction plans for a light rail route, and sought to investigate the potential effects of these plans on the health of low-income and other vulnerable communities. A Community Steering Committee, consisting of a wide variety of community members and other stakeholders and including the Minnesota Department of Health, directed the HIA. The project is examining factors such as the rail’s potential to connect community members to valuable resources such as healthy foods, the potential displacement of individuals in the construction of the rail, and effects on local employment. Preliminary findings were released to the St. Paul City Council in March, and point to threats posed to the businesses, health, employment, and housing of vulnerable individuals in the community.


Transportation options for seniors gaining attention

With the population of citizens above the age of 65 continuing to increase, the importance of public and specialized transit for senior citizens is becoming increasingly evident. Both CTAA and AARP have emphasized the negative impact of mobility loss not only on the physical and emotional health of senior citizens, but to communities as well. According to these associations, specialized transport is a reasonable mode of transportation for older persons, and is especially important for meeting the needs of older women who often have lower licensing rates. This is a topic that is gaining momentum. For example, ITNGreaterBoston, a small Boston-based non-profit responsible for the creation of a transportation network for senior citizens, has received grants which will allow it to expand its unique system of specialized transportation. The organization provides 24-7 transit services to seniors who pay an annual membership fee. Drivers are trained with respect to the specific needs of their clients, and consist of both paid drivers and volunteers. Volunteers are able to earn “credits,” which they may either use in later years, or donate to friends, family, or low-income members of the program. Additionally, a recent report from the University of Vermont Transportation Research Center suggests that programs such as this one that work to provide safe transportation services to seniors may enhance the overall livability of a community.


DOT responds to alarming fatality statistics with Click It or Ticket Campaign

On May 26, 2011, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland, and Chief James Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department launched the 2011 “Click It or Ticket” traffic safety campaign. This campaign, in which police officers made seatbelt enforcement a top priority,Click It or Ticket 2011 is representative of a larger effort to save lives on America’s roadways. In his blog, Fast Lane, Secretary LaHood credits public awareness as well as strict and enforced laws as turning seatbelt use into a norm practiced regularly by 85% of Americans. However, the 15% of individuals who fail to use their seatbelts continue to represent a slight majority of those who have died in car crashes. Young people - particularly males - and certain minority groups are disproportionately impacted by seatbelt disuse, and over 50% of African American children who were victims in fatal crashes were not wearing a seatbelt. The Click It or Ticket campaign could not only save lives across the country, but help to reduce inequities in traffic safety.


Community design added to the National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network

CDC has added Community Design as a new content area in the National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network. Community design refers to human-made elements in a community that form the physical characteristics of that community. Well-designed communities can improve public health, while poorly-designed communities can hinder health. There is now transportation and health-related information on:

  • Motor vehicle crashes,
  • Types of transportation and
  • Air quality.


  Get Involved


APHA and CDC invite you to a free webinar on climate change on June 29th  

Climate change is one of the most serious health threats facing our nation. Public health professionals have a key role to play in responding to and preparing for these health threats. Much can be learned from current public health efforts to prevent and prepare for climate-related impacts. APHA brings you a webinar featuring speakers who will make the connection between U.S. and international climate change efforts. Join us on June 29, 2011 from 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm EDT. Participants must register to participate in this webinar; click here to register.  


2012 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference 

San Diego, CA is an ideal setting for the 2012 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference. Rated the second largest city in California, and eighth largest in the nation, San Diego is one of the most livable and sustainable major metropolitan areas in the nation. New Partners for Smart Growth is a national, multi-disciplinary smart growth conference presented by the Local Government Commission. In these tough economic times when communities everywhere are struggling for fiscal survival, this timely conference will identify innovative ways to finance smart growth, explore creative techniques for reducing infrastructure and service costs, and provide concrete ideas for employing smart growth as a tool for community economic vitality. Learn from hundreds of speakers who cross disciplines to share insights, and valuable tools and strategies for making smart growth a success in your community. Visit to get more details.


AoA & NCST webinar on diversity and transportation

The National Center on Senior Transportation and the U.S. Administration on Aging have planned a webinar on mobility, aging and diversity, for June 16 at 2 PM. The webinar will focus on the Administration on Aging’s “Toolkit of Serving Diverse Communities,” which aims to build the capacity of aging-network providers to meet an increasing and diverse set of needs. It will also provide information regarding the Breaking New Ground projects, funded by NCST to address the specific needs of certain populations with respect to transportation. Registration is currently open, with the password 123456.


What our streets can do for older adults

On May 24, NPR’s Morning Edition featured a discussion of the dangers that our streets pose for senior citizens, a topic of growing importance given America’s rapidly aging population. In particular, the story emphasized that the methods generally used to improve streets can actually make things worse for seniors. For example, consistently wider streets are difficult for some seniors to cross in the allotted time, which not only creates the risk of a potential accident, but can even result in imposed fines for impeding traffic. NPR also highlights some of the ways in which states and cities have moved towards making streets safer for users of all ages. So far, 24 states and 200 localities have signed on to support Complete Streets and improve pedestrian safety, though a bipartisan effort would require that all states and localities come up with a plan. Tampa, named in the “Dangerous by Design” report as the second most dangerous large metro area for pedestrians, has revamped two dangerous intersections as “senior zones,” where more readable signs and improved crosswalks have cut pedestrian accidents in half.


New active transportation resources in Spanish and English

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced the recent development of walking and biking materials. The materials include a Child Pedestrian Curriculum, a Cycling Skills Clinic, a Bikeability Checklist (in English and Spanish) and a Walkability Checklist (in English and Spanish). The materials and more are available online via the Pedestrian Forum Spring 2011 newsletter.


Replace your car trips with bike trips in a national competition

Clif Bars has sponsored a new competition called the 2 Mile Challenge with the goal of replacing 100,000 car trips by bike trips. Registration is free and open to everyone. 


Attend a free webinar on active design on June 28th

Attend an introductory webinar about creating healthy and active communities on Tuesday, June 28th. This is the first in a series of webinars on encouraging active and healthy communities; it is hosted by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and AIANY. The webinar will cover background information about the health evidence for and benefits of active design strategies that encourage walking, bicycling, stair climbing and active recreation; an overview of strategies included in the Active Design Guidelines (released by four NYC agencies last year); and case studies of communities working to encourage healthy, active design. Register for the Creating Healthy Communities Through Design Webinar.  


  Upcoming Events


June 20-23 - National Healthy Homes Conference: Denver

June 23-25 - APHA Midyear Meeting: Chicago

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 17-18 - HIA of the Americas Workshop: Oakland

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

November 8–11 - PolicyLink Equity Summit 2011: Detroit



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