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Transportation and Public Health e-Newsletter

March 2012

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Greetings public health leaders and advocates,

Thank you to everyone who sent an advocacy alert to their members of Congress to support the Cardin-Cochran transportation amendment and to oppose the House transportation bill. Many of you also have voiced your opinion that transportation is a public health issue.

The responses to the Senate and House versions of the surface transportation bill have been enormous, and have come from a wide assortment of organizations, including Transportation for America, the Convergence Partnership and other partners in health and equity. APHA and its partners provided several responses to the proposals in recent weeks: 

Additionally, APHA released its annual congressional record, so find out how your members of Congress have supported public health.

Thank you,

The American Public Health Association



APHA Highlights



New APHA fact sheet on public transportation and public health

transportation fact sheetA new fact sheet on public health and public transportation by APHA contains statistics and examples that highlight the connections between these two worlds.

An equitable public transportation system is one that al­lows its users equal opportunity in mobility, independent of age, ability, income or race. Public trans­portation use is associated with health, social and environmental benefits. 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.


News from APHA's Public Health Newswire and The Nation's Health


Join us in San Francisco for the APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition 

Mark your calendars for the APHA 140th Annual Meeting and Exposition, Oct. 27–31, 2012, in San Francisco. The APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition will once again utilize a campus plan with sessions and events taking place at the Moscone Convention Center and hotel in proximity to the center. Learn more about the city of San Francisco. Stay on top of the trends in public health, share successes and failures, and learn from expert colleagues about the latest research in the field. Keep an eye on the APHA Annual Meeting & Exposition website,, for updates. Registration and housing will open on June 1. A list of the official APHA hotels and contact information for APHA Housing Services will be available then.   


   Resources and News


New Research

Local health department leadership strategies for healthy built environments. Local health leadership underlies public and environmental health departments' community design efforts and should receive technical support and targeted resources to do so effectively. 

Neighborhood Design and the Accessibility of the Elderly: An Empirical Analysis in Northern California. Enhanced accessibility has a much larger effect on the elderly than on the younger. Therefore, neighborhood design seems to be an important aspect of sustaining the accessibility of older people.

Carpooling and Booster Seats: A National Survey of Parents. Carpooling is a common driving situation during which booster seat use is inconsistent. Social norms and self-efficacy are associated with booster seat use. Clinicians who care for children should increase efforts to convey the importance of using the size-appropriate restraint for every child on every trip.


New Resources Designing Healthy Communities 2

Scholarly book and public television series on our built environment

Richard Jackson, MD, MPH, released another scholarly book, an edited collection centered on the topic of the built environment and our health, titled Making Healthy Places: Designing and Building for Wealth, Well-Being and Sustainability (Island Press), in addition to hosting a four-part mini-series called Designing Healthy Communities, which will air on public television.

Report on biking and walking in the 50 states

A new report released by the Alliance for Biking and Walking ranks all 50 states and the 51 largest U.S. cities on bicycling and walking levels, safety, funding, and other factors. The biennial report reveals data including: bicycling and walking levels and demographics; bicycle and pedestrian safety; public health indicators; and the economic impact of bicycling and walking. Jeffrey Miller, President / CEO of the Alliance for Biking & Walking notes that "how people travel is key to the health of a population. Bicycling and walking are forms of active transportation that, as this report shows, play a vital role in reversing the obesity epidemic. The states with the highest levels of biking and walking almost always have the lowest levels of obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure. Increasing bicycling and walking is a goal that is clearly in the public interest. If just one of every ten adults started a walking program, the United States could save $5.6 billion." The Alliance’s Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2012 Benchmarking Report is available as a free PDF or may be ordered as a hard copy for $37.95.

Biking benefits exceed $450 million in Iowa

According to a report titled Economic and Health Benefits of Bicycling, the spending from recreational cyclists in Iowa generates $364.8 million in direct and indirect impacts. In terms of health, bicycling saves the state $73.9 million in healthcare costs for those who cycle recreationally, while bicycle commuters save another $13.2 million in health care cost savings. 


  Get Involved


First national Bike to School Day is coming soon: May 9, 2012

Mark your calendars! The inaugural National Bike to School Day is a natural extension of National Bike Month. It is exciting to see a new bike-focused event that is supportive of healthy physical activity for children. Bookmark  and check back often to learn more ways to participate in this nationwide event.

Register now for Pedestrians Count 2012, May 3-4, 2012 in Los Angeles People walking

Pedestrians Count is the only event of its kind focused solely on pedestrians. It provides an opportunity for advocates, practitioners and researchers to come together to share best practices, ask and answer questions, work to integrate data across fields, and to continue build a solid foundation for improving the pedestrian environment. Session topics will include walkability to transit, health equity, and pedestrian data collection. Statewide professionals, academics, and community leaders will share their current and most promising work. Visit the Pedestrians Count 2012 registration site to learn more:

New HIA Society Established

The Society of Practitioners of Health Impact Assessment (SOPHIA), has been established to provide leadership and promote excellence in the practice of health impact assessment (HIA). SOPHIA aims to be a leading network of HIA practitioners working towards achieving better health by promoting and practicing a thorough and systematic consideration of health in decision-making. SOPHIA is currently accepting new members to join them in their efforts for better health. 

Save-the-date: HIA summer training course July 16-19, 2012

SFDPH is pleased to announce that they will be offering their fifth annual summer training course for health impact assessment (HIA) practitioners. The overall goal of the course is to provide current and future practitioners of HIA experience using available procedures, regulations and tools to implement an HIA. Registration will open on March 1st and close July 1st. Visit the SFDPH HIA training page for details including the course objectives, location, travel/hotel info, and past year's course agenda and evaluations.

Opportunity to respond to proposed changes to FTA New Starts and Small Starts Programs

On January 25, 2012, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) released a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to reform the New Starts and Small Starts programs.  The proposals have two main impacts: (1) to streamline the project development process, reducing the analytical and paperwork burden, and (2) to include a broader set of evaluation criteria, particularly those that better capture health, equity and environmental considerations. Additionally, the NPRM would reform the evaluation criteria used to review applicants to the New Starts program. Part of the evaluation criteria would include changes in vehicle emissions, fatalities and - most significantly - public health. Comments are due to the FTA by March 26, 2012.


  Upcoming Events in 2012





12-14 - Active Living Research Conference: San Diego, CA


16-18 - Building Livable Communities: Yosemite, CA


18-21 - Creating Partnerships for Rural Transit Solutions: Scottsdale, AZ


20-21 - Smart Cities: Washington, DC


20-22 - National Bike Summit: Washington, DC




1-2 - National Main Streets Conference: Baltimore, MD

2-8 - National Public Health Week: National

3-4 – National Health Impact Assessment Meeting: Washington, DC

10-11 - National Health Promotion Summit: Prevention. Promotion. Progress: Washington, DC


14-17 - American Planning Association Conference: Los Angeles, CA


17-19 - Bicycle Leadership Conference: Monterey, CA




3-4 - Pedestrians Count 2012: Los Angeles, CA


6-9 - American Public Transportation Association Bus and Paratransit Conference: Long Beach, CA


7-9 - Weight of the Nation Conference: Washington, DC


9-11 - Women's Transportation Seminar National Conference: Denver, CO


9-12 - Congress for the New Urbanism: West Palm Beach, FL


14-18 - Bike to Work Week: National


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


23-26 - Neighborhoods USA: Indianapolis, IN




1 - Transport Chicago: Chicago, IL


2 - Trails Day: National

3-6 - American Public Transportation Association Rail Conference: Dallas, TX

14-16 - Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities: Orlando, FL

24-26 - Aging, Mobility, and Quality of Life: Ann Arbor, MI

24-27 - 4th Urban Street Symposium: Chicago, IL

26-28 – American Public Health Association (APHA) Midyear Meeting: Charlotte, NC

26-29 - Velo-City Global: Vancouver, BC, Canada


11-13 - National Association of County and City Health Officials: Los Angeles, CA 

14-17 - International Urban Parks Conference: New York, NY

28-8/1 - Association for Commuter Transportation: Savannah, GA 


6-9 - National Conference of State Legislatures - Legislative Summit: Chicago, IL

12-15 Institute of Transportation Engineers Annual Meeting: Atlanta, GA 


10-13 - ProWalk/ProBike: Long Beach, CA

12-14 - Transportation Planning for Small and Medium-Sized Communities: Big Sky, MT

30-10/3 - American Public Transportation Association Annual Meeting: Seattle, WA


3 - Walk to School Day: International

14-17 - Rail~Volution: Los Angeles, CA

27-30 - American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting: San Francisco, CA


-31 – Global Youth Traffic Safety Month: International

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