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Transportation and Public Health e-Newsletter

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


Greetings public health leaders and advocates,

The fall season is off to an active start as we find new resources on health and transportation ranging from walkability to health impact assessments (HIAs) to reduced speed zones to funding opportunities.

Recently, Congress moved forward with a surface transportation extension, so now all existing surface transportation programs (such as Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School) are continued at current funding levels until March 31, 2012. This extension provides members of Congress with an additional six months to develop a long-term transportation reauthorization bill.

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

Thank you,

The American Public Health Association



APHA Highlights



New APHA fact sheet on the links between public health and complete streets

Transportation systems and policies impact health in myriad ways, partly via providing safe streets and opportunities for physical activity. A new fact sheet contains statistics and examples that highlight the connections between the growing complete streets movement and health. All health and transportation-related fact sheets are housed on APHA’s transportation reports and fact sheets web page, and all are available for download.


Annual Meeting: sessions on health and transportation Annual Meeting 2011 Logo

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 and more.

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

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


Annual Meeting hotels filling quickly

Limited space is available at the APHA hotels in Washington, D.C., and many hotels are almost sold out. If you have not done so, make your reservations online today or call 866-871-5085. The APHA discounted rates are only available through the APHA Housing Service and are not available by calling the hotels directly. Act now and save!


Ways to save at the Annual Meeting

  • Roommate locator — Share your hotel expenses with another Annual Meeting attendee through the Roommate Locator service.
  • Traveling to D.C. — Before you book your travel for the Annual Meeting, check out the discounts provided by APHA.
  • Complimentary shuttle — Complimentary shuttle service will be provided between the Washington Convention Center and the official APHA Annual Meeting hotels.


New book from APHA press on healthy communities 

Designing Healthy CommunitiesDesigning Healthy Communities” is the companion book for the upcoming PBS broadcast that describes how the design of the built environment impacts our health, with an additional emphasis on the inequities of social and environmental justice.

Dr. Richard Jackson explores how the built environment has contributed to the fact that two-thirds of Americans are overweight, 70 million are obese and many suffer from an array of other chronic but preventable diseases. Jackson will be signing copies of this book at the APHA Press booth during APHA Annual Meeting on Monday, Oct. 31 from 10:15-11:15 a.m.


Follow the Annual Meeting via social media

Follow the excitement leading up to the Annual Meeting through the APHA Facebook Page, Annual Meeting Twitter and Annual Meeting Blog. For more information about social media tools being used during the Annual Meeting, visit the social media homepage. When at the Annual Meeting be sure to stop by the Social Media desk located on the third floor of the Washington Convention Center. 


   Resources and News


Walkable communities could go far in promoting and sustaining good health

Earlier this year, more than 7,000 people took part in the walking survey, which was conducted by America Walks and sent to members of a variety of organizations, including APHA. According to the “2011 National Walking Survey,” which was released this month, the top reason cited for walking among participants described as frequent walkers was to maintain good health, while the second-most cited reason was to help feel calm and less stressed. Among infrequent walkers, the second-most cited reason for not walking was neighborhood-related barriers, such as not enough sidewalks or being wary of speeding traffic.

The survey also found that neighborhoods that are more walkable — in other words, neighborhoods where places of interest are in easy walking distance or that have interesting things to see while walking — are home to a greater number of people who walk frequently. The survey authors noted that, contrary to popular belief, population density does not equal walkability.

Unfortunately, very few walkers were encouraged to walk by a health care professional, including walkers whose health could greatly benefit from the activity. For example, the survey found that among walkers with high blood pressure, only a little more than 10 percent said they received the initial encouragement to begin walking from a health care professional. Walkers

Also during the webinar, Susan Polan, PhD, APHA associate executive director, discussed some of the advocacy opportunities for promoting walking and creating safe places to walk, noting that “in many communities, the opportunities to be physically active have been engineered out of daily life.” Among the opportunities is reauthorization of a federal transportation funding bill. Polan said the bill’s reauthorization gives advocates the chance to rally behind effective programs such as Safe Routes to School as well as to educate policy-makers about the need to consider people’s health when making transportation decisions.

“We really do have the opportunity to make a difference,” Polan said during the webinar. For more information on the intersections between health and transportation, visit APHA’s transportation web page.


Community Transformation Grants awarded to organizations in 36 states

In late September, $103 million in grants were awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to states and communities across the nation.  Created by the Affordable Care Act, these grants help to tackle root causes of chronic disease. A useful map of CTG funded states and communities has been made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).


How reduced speed zones impact roadway injuries and fatalities

Road injuries are a leading cause of mortality and disability worldwide, and one that disproportionately impacts children and young adults.  Chris Grundy and his colleagues at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine investigate the effect of 20 mph speed zones on roadway casualties in London. The introduction of 20 mph zones was associated with a 41.9% reduction in road casualties.


New report on how the built environment supports active living 

People walkingAn updated report by the Prevention Institute shows various organizational practices and public policies that may improve the built environment in support of a vision of healthy people in healthy places. The report from the Prevention Institute, titled Strategies for Enhancing the Built Environment to Support Healthy Eating and Active Living, helps to identify target policies and opportunities towards building healthy environments.



Recent research and press on health and transportation:


  Get Involved


APHA Members receive tuition discount at Drexel University Online

APHA is pleased to announce a new collaboration with Drexel University Online. Under this program, APHA members and their families are eligible for special tuition discounts of up to 25 percent when they enroll in any of Drexel’s online courses.  Drexel University Online offers a wide range of courses in a flexible online format, including CEPH-accredited programs in biostatistics and epidemiology. See the APHA partnership page for more details. Any agreement entered into between Drexel University Online and an APHA member, employee or family member, is with Drexel University Online and not with APHA. APHA does not endorse any products or services displayed or referred to in conjunction with this partnership, and is not responsible for the actual content of Drexel University Online programs. 


Call for applications: Safe Routes to School mini-grants

The National Center for Safe Routes to School (SRTS) is accepting applications for 25 mini-grants of $1,000 each. These SRTS mini-grants support programs to enable and encourage children of all ages and abilities to safely walk and bicycle to school. The funded activities should occur between January 1, 2012, and the end of the spring 2012 semester. Applications are due on October 19, 2011, so visit the online mini-grant information and application page today.


TRB offers new health and transportation subcommittee

In recent years, the Transportation Research Board has seen an increase in health-related research emerging from several committees.  To help harness that interest, a new TRB Subcommittee on Health and Transportation was formed.  No longer will those involved in TRB have to look across myriad committees to identify the latest health-related research and to improve their understanding of the health impacts of transportation policies and projects.  The Subcommittee offers interested parties an opportunity to pool their collective insights and expertise on the connections between health and transportation.


Webinar on distracted driving laws

The webinar, “Distracted Driving Laws: Where are we? Where should we be going?,” will be held on Oct. 20 from 1-2 p.m. EDT.  It will provide information on the scope of the distracted driving problem, the evolution of state laws aimed at addressing the issue and the divergence between existing evidence about the problem and current laws. Read more information and register for the webinar on distracted driving online.


  Upcoming Events


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.

October 25-28 – Association of Metropolitan Planning Organizations Annual Meeting: Dallas

October 25-28 – The Urban League Institute Meeting and Urban Land Expo: Los Angeles

November 8–11 - PolicyLink Equity Summit 2011: Detroit

November 9-12 – National League of Cities Congress of Cities & Exposition: Phoenix


January 22-26 – Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting: Washington, D.C.

February 2-4 – Annual New Partners for Smart Growth Conference: San Diego

March 12-14 - Active Living Research Conference: San Diego

May 7-9 - Weight of the Nation Conference: Washington, D.C.

May 20-24 - International Making Cities Livable Conference: Portland, OR

June 24-27 - 4th Urban Street Symposium: Chicago


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