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Transportation and Public Health e-Newsletter

April 2012

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Greetings public health leaders and advocates,

There has been much activity in the last month: movement on a federal surface transportation bill, National Public Health Week activities across the nation and emerging research and reports. In late March, the U.S. Senate joined the House of Representatives' passed a 90-day extension to the nation's federal surface transportation bill, SAFETEA-LU. This is the ninth extension of the bill since its expiration in late September 2009. The Senate's passage of H.R. 4281, the Surface Transportation Extension Act, offers members of Congress an opportunity to agree on language within a longer-term transportation bill. How that bill will look is to be determined, though it is important to note that the Senate’s version of the transportation bill (known as MAP-21) was developed with bipartisan input and adopted with votes from both parties. Meanwhile, the president offered a six-year, $476 billion surface transportation reauthorization in his budget proposal.

Thank you,

The American Public Health Association



APHA Highlights



APHA Policy Innovation Award recipients selected

APHA recently announced its selection of six health departments, from among a competitive pool of 121 applications, to receive funding to advance an innovative policy approach in response to a critical public health problem in their community. APHA will work closely with awardees to identify emerging and promising practices that can be replicated in other communities, and to develop resources, such as case studies and webinars. See the list and description of the health departments that were selected. One selected health department includes the Manatee County Health Department, which is leading a Complete Streets project to develop and adopt a policy to reduce pedestrian and bicycling injuries and increase opportunities for biking and walking. Check back over the next several months to find out more about their policy work and access new resources. For questions, please contact


National Public Health Week 2012: full of outstanding events!

Communities across the country celebrated National Public Health Week (NPHW) from April 2 through 8. One of the days during NPHW – Monday – focused on active living. Walking, biking - especially to and from public transportation – and their associated health and equity benefits offered an interesting way to showcase the importance of supporting these active modes of transportation. NPHW provided a great way to reach out to communities about transportation issues. Many walking, biking and related events were posted in the NPHW calendar (such as events in Texas, Colorado and Tennessee). We also enjoyed a guest blog from the chair of the APHA Physical Activity Special Primary Interest Group on how community design impacts physical activity among children. Thank you to everyone who participated in NPHW events in your communities and who shared this opportunity with your networks!


APHA member bikes across America for safe routes Bike across America

Jane Ward says there is nothing better than the simple pleasure of a bike ride. As a second-year grad student at George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, she’s turning a personal pastime into a public cause. Ward, a physician and APHA member, along with two of her daughters and a family friend have set off on a 5,500-mile cross-country bike ride to support safe routes across America – an issue she and her family care deeply about. The group set off in early February from Key West, Fla., and plans to roll in to San Francisco by late April, clocking in an average of 70 miles per day with just one rest day per week. Hear from Ward about their travels from the road in our Public Health Newswire article. Read the U.S. Department of Transportation blog post about why safe routes for cycling and walking are important for improving health.


News from The Nation's Health

Violence prevention, health promotion coming together: Projects creating healthier neighborhoods

Utah public health workers take the lead on bike, pedestrian access



   Resources and News


New research

Talking the talk, walking the walk: examining the effect of neighbourhood walkability and social connectedness on physical activity. Kaczynski AT, Glover TD. Journal of Public Health 2012; ePub.

The use and risk of portable electronic devices while cycling among different age groups. Goldenbeld C, Houtenbos M, Ehlers E, de Waard D. Journal of Safety Research. 2012; 43(1): 1-8.

National evaluation of the effect of graduated driver licensing laws on teenager fatality and injury crashes. Lyon JD, Pan R, Li J. Journal of Safety Research. 2012; 43(1): 29-37.

Walking for transport versus recreation: a comparison of participants, timing, and locations. Spinney J EL, Millward H, Scott D. Journal of Physical Activity & Health. 2012; 9(2): 153-162. Street scape

The Association Between Neighborhood Characteristics and Body Size and Physical Activity in the California Teachers Study Cohort. Keegan TH, Hurley S, Goldberg D, Nelson DO, Reynolds P, Bernstein L, Horn-Ross PL, Gomez SL. American Journal of Public Health: April 2012, Vol. 102, No. 4, pp. 689-697.

New urbanism and its impact on active living among inner city children/youth. Heath GW and White-Woerner S. Presented at EPI|NPAM 2012; March 15, 2012; San Diego, CA.

The association of neighborhood characteristics and ideal cardiovascular health in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). Unger ED, Diez-Roux A, Lloyd-Jones D, et al. Presented at EPI|NPAM 2012; March 15, 2012.

New reports

Treasury report on infrastructure investment

The U.S. Department of the Treasury has issued a report, A New Economic Analysis of Infrastructure Investment, which argues in favor of expanding transportation options as an avenue for economic growth. The report notes research on location-efficient neighborhoods and emission reductions due to transit ridership. Per the report’s press release, “in the long-term, transportation choices, including public transit and high-speed rail, deliver benefits to families burdened by fluctuating global oil markets, congested automobile travel, and a lack of transportation options. The average American family spends more than $7,600 a year on transportation, which is more than they spend on food and more than twice what they spend on out-of-pocket health care costs. For 90 percent of Americans, transportation costs absorb one out of every seven dollars of income. Multi-modal transportation investments are critical to making sure that American families can travel without wasting time and money stuck in traffic.” Also included in the report is a discussion on the Administration’s current investment in infrastructure.


Traffic safety across the states Country road

The National Conference of State Legislatures released a new report, Traffic Safety and Public Health: State Legislative Action 2011, which summarizes several bills on traffic safety issues that were considered by state legislatures in 2011. It also provides information about current traffic safety issues, such as distracted driving, speed limits, motorcycle safety and pedestrian and bicyclist safety.


Transportation funding reform to improve equity

AARP issued a report that discusses the inequity of current and proposed transportation funding sources at all levels of government, in particular for low-income people, rural residents, people with disabilities and older adults. 


  Get Involved


Context Sensitive Solutions National Dialog: Expanding the Conversation Webcast

A webcast on Wednesday, April 11, 2012 from 1:00 to 2:30pm (Eastern) will launch the Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) National Dialog 2, and will provide an update on current transportation initiatives that are aligned with the principles of CSS. The planned workshop series will feature exemplary plans, projects, and programs that demonstrate the value of applying the principles of CSS, which include public health. Be sure to register for the free webcast and visit The Dialog is funded by the FHWA’s Office of Planning, Environment and Realty’s Surface Transportation Environment and Planning Cooperative Research Program.



  Upcoming Events in 2012



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


9-10: Mobility Management Conference: Long Beach, CA


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


21-25: Community Transportation Association of America EXPO: Baltimore, MD


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


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