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Transportation and Public Health e-Newsletter

May 2012

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Greetings public health leaders and advocates,

There's been plenty of activity surrounding the federal surface transportation authorization in these last few weeks. On April 24, the U.S. Senate executed the previous order to send the transportation bill to conference and appointed senators as conferees. H.R.4348, as amended with the text of S.1813 as passed by the Senate, is the vehicle for the conference. The House voted to pass a “shell bill” that can go to conference with the Senate bill. The shell bill was a 90-day extension of SAFETEA-LU to Sept. 30 that also included some additional controversial policies. The conference committee went into negotiations beginning on May 8 on the specific policies that will form a final reauthorization bill. Earlier polling has indicated that 71 percent of voters want to see compromise on legislation related to transportation. Furthermore, new polling data show that a majority of Americans support increased federal funding for sidewalks, bike lanes and bike paths. Sens. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Ben Cardin, D-Md., and Reps. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Tom Petri, R-Wis., were joined by public health advocates and business leaders at an event last week to discuss the polling survey results. According to the survey, 83 percent of  respondents want to maintain or increase federal funds for active transportation.

The Senate Appropriations Committee also voted on its recommendations for funding levels for the upcoming fiscal year. The Committee approved increased funding levels for the New Starts transit program, passenger rail and the Partnership for Sustainable Communities Program and continued funding levels for other transportation programs, such as TIGER.

Thank you,

The American Public Health Association



APHA Highlights



Thanks for making National Public Health Week 2012 a success!

Communities across the U.S. celebrated National Public Health Week April 2-8. Events held nationwide during the week highlighted the importance of prevention and well-being across the life span. A National Public Health Week road tour brought APHA Executive Director Georges Benjamin, to several states to discuss steps that all Americans can take to live healthier lives. APHA and the University of Colorado hosted a panel discussion and prevention walk with the U.S. surgeon general, APHA leaders and members of the Metro Mayors Caucus. Look for full coverage of National Public Health Week activities in the July issue of The Nation’s Health newspaper. 


The New Public Health – Rewiring for the Future: June 26–28 in North Carolina

This year’s APHA Midyear Meeting will offer attendees educational, policy and advocacy tools to keep up with and anticipate the changes necessary to "rewire" the public health infrastructure. There is still time to register, but the clock is ticking! Visit our website for more information on this event and to register.


APHA to host Annual Meeting & Expo in San Francisco in October

Mark your calendar for the APHA 140th Annual Meeting & Exposition, taking place Oct. 27–31 in San Francisco. The 2012 Annual Meeting will unite the public health community and afford professionals and practitioners the opportunity to enhance their knowledge and exchange information on best practices, latest research and new trends in public health. This year’s meeting will focus on “Prevention and Wellness Across the Life Span.” Individuals will be able to access the official registration and housing website for the 2012 Annual Meeting beginning June 1. Complete your online meeting registration and your data will be directly linked to the online hotel/housing form for one-stop convenience.  Discounted registration fees and hotel rates will be available starting June 1 at

   Resources and News


New Resources from APHA

From The American Journal of Public Health and The Nation’s Health:

Neighborhood Social Inequalities in Road Traffic Injuries: The Influence of Traffic Volume and Road Design. Patrick Morency, Lise Gauvin, Céline Plante, Michel Fournier, Catherine Morency. American Journal of Public Health: 2012. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300528. See an article on the study in the LA Times.

Mapping Cumulative Environmental Effects, Social Vulnerability, and Health in the San Joaquin Valley, California. Ganlin Huang, Jonathan London. American Journal of Public Health: May 2012, Vol. 102, No. 5: 830–832. 

Evaluating the Safety Effects of Bicycle Lanes in New York City. American Journal of Public Health. Li Chen, Cynthia Chen, Raghavan Srinivasan, Claire E. McKnight, Reid Ewing, and Matthew Roe. American Journal of Public Health: 2012. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300319.

Addressing the Implementation Gap in Global Road Safety: Exploring Features of an Effective Response and Introducing a 10-Country Program. Adnan A. Hyder, Katharine A. Allen, Gayle Di Pietro, Claudia A. Adriazola, Rochelle Sobel, Kelly Larson, Margie Peden. Published online ahead of print April 19. American Journal of Public Health: 2012. 

The Lived Experience of Race and Its Health Consequences. Brian D. Smedley. American Journal of Public Health: May 2012, Vol. 102, No. 5: 933–935.

Methods for the Scientific Study of Discrimination and Health: An Ecosocial Approach. Nancy Krieger. American Journal of Public Health: May 2012, Vol. 102, No. 5, pp. 936-944. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2011.300544.

The Nation's Health May/June 2012 vol. 42: Fatal alcohol-related car crashes are on the rise among young women drivers, a new study finds.


From Public Health Newswire (subscribe via email):

CDC report calls attention to burden of childhood injuries in US: The injury death rate among children in the U.S. dropped nearly 30 percent over the past 10 years. Despite the positive trend, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Vital Signs report shows injuries remain the leading cause of death for youth. The most common cause of death from injuries is motor vehicle crashes. 

Study: Poor urban areas have higher rates of traffic injuries (also see first AJPH study listed above): Researchers studied nearly 20,000 victims injured over five years at 17,498 intersections in Montreal. They also looked at the characteristics of each of the intersections and their neighborhoods, such as traffic estimates, population density and household income. They found that traffic volume at intersections increased significantly with poverty. Pedestrians crossing 2012.

A public health approach to preventing injuries and violence: Q&A with Linda Degutis: Injury and violence prevention is a real and growing public health problem and one of the priorities included in the National Prevention Strategy, a major focus of this year’s National Public Health Week. Linda Degutis, DrPH, MSN, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control and a former APHA president, reflects on the significant advances that have been made in the field of injury and violence prevention and her vision for meeting some of the challenges that lie ahead. 

10 most polluted cities: The U.S. has significantly reduced its air pollution, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. These 10 cities had the highest levels of year-round particle pollution, according to a new American Lung Association report, which ranks the metropolitan areas based on ozone and particle pollution during 2008, 2009 and 2010.

Prenatal air pollution linked to obesity: Air pollution may play a role in obesity among as many as 25 percent of children living in U.S. inner-city neighborhoods, researchers said. Lead author Andrew G. Rundle, a professor of epidemiology at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York, said pregnant women in New York exposed to higher concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are produced as byproducts of fuel burning, were more than twice as likely as others to have children who were obese by age 7.


Other New Resources: 

Americans Driving Less, Especially Young Americans

A new report shows that young Americans have been driving less and traveling by foot, bike or transit more. The trend is led by people ages 16-34. While the recession may have impacted the number of miles driven in the nation, the trend toward reduced driving occurred even among young people who are employed and/or are doing well financially. 

Infrastructure and Land Use in Low-Income Communities: Policy Impacts:

Two new policy briefs from Bridging the Gap Research shed light on the connections between transportation infrastructure and land use on low-income communities. Income Disparities in Street Features notes connections between walkability and safely navigating streets, and how low-income communities are less likely to encounter sidewalks and other safe infrastructure. For example, “streets with sidewalks on one or both sides of the street are significantly more common in high-income areas (89 percent) than in middle-income (59 percent) or low-income communities (49 percent).” Using Local Land Use Laws shows how local land use laws can support physical activity, and how this is related to income. It provides suggestions to local policymakers, such as how “local governments could modify their zoning code to include zones or districts that facilitate physical activity, such as mixed use, traditional neighborhood, transit-oriented development or pedestrian-oriented districts.”

County Health Rankings Released

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin’s Population Health Institute have released the third annual County Health Rankings. Nearly every county in the country is ranked on health outcomes (how healthy we are) and on health factors (how healthy we can be). Examples of specific measures used include: obesity, access to primary care physicians, air pollution levels, unemployment rates and number of children living in poverty. Learn more at

FHWA Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program: Report on Outcomes Available

The FHWA Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP) aims to demonstrate how improvements to walking and bicycling infrastructure can increase mode share for walking and bicycling. Four communities received more than $25 million to improve their walking and bicycling networks. The legislation for this program called for developing “statistical information on changes in motor vehicle, non-motorized transportation, and public transportation usage in communities participating in the program and assess how such changes decrease congestion and energy usage, increase the frequency of bicycling and walking, and promote better health and a cleaner environment.” The final report to Congress describing the program’s outcomes was provided in April 2012. According to the report, “the average person living in the NTPP communities walked six minutes…more per week in 2010 than in 2007. These additional minutes are helping people reach the CDC’s recommendation that people undertake moderate-intensity aerobic activity for at least 150 minutes per week.” Aside from improved health and safety, another goal of the program is improved community access; an example of this includes a loaned bicycle program in Minneapolis to support low-income residents. 


  Get Involved


A National Conversation on the Future of Our Communities: Papers due June 30

The Smart Growth Network (SGN) in having its first national conversation over the next 12 to 18 months about how neighborhoods could be planned, designed and developed to meet the needs of current and future generations. A primary goal of this conversation is to attract more people and perspectives, particularly those of public health professionals. SGN is seeking short papers that discuss a particular issue that communities will be facing in the next 15 years. For example, papers should Transportation and Public Healthaddress the question of “what issues do local governments, community leaders and advocates need to be prepared to address to ensure strong, healthy, sustainable and livable communities?”, among other questions. A multidisciplinary review team will select between 20 and 40 papers to publish in a compendium before the 2013 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference. Selected papers will be considered for inclusion in the open and/or closing plenaries. Papers are due by June 30, so read the full solicitation and submit your paper right away.


Join Transportation for America’s free online presentation May 17

At 2 p.m. EDT on May 17, Transportation for America (T4A) will host “Transportation Vote 2012: Legal electoral activities for nonprofit organizations,” where legal experts will explain the types of electoral activities that nonprofit organizations can legally engage in. Polls show that voters overwhelmingly support increased access to public transportation and safe walking and biking. This initiative will help voters, advocates and candidates learn about issues and keep abreast of transportation-related campaigns as they unfold. Register online for the upcoming presentation.

Also take the opportunity to support health and equity in the next transportation authorization by participating in the T4A Equity Caucus, which was formed in 2010 by the nation’s leading health, civil rights, community development, racial justice, economic justice, faith-based, housing, labor, environmental justice, tribal and transportation organizations. These organizations within the Equity Caucus support a federal surface transportation authorization bill that will promote healthy, safe and inclusive communities, among other initiatives. Learn more about the Equity Caucus and its members, and be sure to click here to sign the pledge for transportation equity.


Call for CSS Best Practices Case Studies Now Open

The Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) National Dialog 2 is seeking submissions of best practices in the application of CSS principles to transportation projects, programs and plans. Key aspects of CSS include open, honest, early and continuous communication with stakeholders and meaningful opportunities for stakeholders to shape outcomes, and a flexible approach to design that preserves and enhances natural and community resources. The principles behind CSS can promote active transportation and improve public health. The selected case studies will form the basis of a series of workshops beginning in September. Submissions are welcome from various agencies, communities and other organizations. If you are unsure that your work fits, then contact the staff to discuss a potential submission: Submissions are due June 15.


Safety, Health and Equity Credits Now Available

Looking for a tool to improve the safety, health, and equity outcomes of transportation and land use plans and projects? Take a look at the STARS Safety, Health and Equity Credits; STARS, the Sustainable Transportation Analysis and Rating System, is a process for developing, analyzing, and rating outcome-based transportation plans and projects. STARS integrates health at the start of the plan or project by rewarding agencies that establish safety, health and equity-related goals and measurable performance objectives, such as increasing walk, bike and transit mode splits, in the project corridor or plan area.  



  Upcoming Events in 2012




14-18 - Bike to Work Week: National


20-24 - International Making Cities Livable Conference: Portland, Ore.


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


23-26 - Neighborhoods USA: Indianapolis




1 - Transport Chicago: Chicago


2 - Trails Day: National

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

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

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

24-27 - 4th Urban Street Symposium: Chicago

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

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


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

14-17 - International Urban Parks Conference: New York

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


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

12-15 Institute of Transportation Engineers Annual Meeting: Atlanta


10-13 - ProWalk/ProBike: Long Beach, Calif.

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

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


3 - Walk to School Day: International

14-17 - Rail~Volution: Los Angeles

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


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