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Transportation and Public Health e-Newsletter

August 2012

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Greetings public health leaders and advocates,

Thank you for taking the time to check out our monthly enewsletter, where we aim to provide you with a useful roundup of news related to health topics in transportation. We hope that you’ll share this enewsletter with your friends, family and colleagues. And please visit our public health, equity and transportation website at to find more reports, news and information.

Thank you,
The American Public Health Association

APHA Highlights

APHA 2012 Annual Meeting: register today! 

Annual Meeting 2012Mark your calendar for the American Public Health Association 140th Annual Meeting and Exposition, Oct. 27-31, in San Francisco. The meeting will feature more than 1,000 scientific sessions and contain more than 700 exhibit booths. The meeting theme this year is Prevention and Wellness Across the Life Span. Several sessions connected to the built environment, transportation and public health are planned, and include Aging and the Built Environment; Poster Session: Transportation and Public Health; Injury Control and Emergency Health Services: Transportation; Supporting Active Living: Influencing Physical Activity through Local Policy and the Built Environment; and Changing the Playing Field: Built Environment and Policy Initiatives to Promote Physical Activity. Early-Bird Deadline is Aug. 16! Register early at to save. After Aug. 16, advanced fees will take effect. Advance registration remains open through Sept. 20 and attendees can also register on site. Information on housing can be found at APHA has negotiated discounted rates at 17 hotels but rooms are going fast. Other ways to save at the Annual Meeting include booking using our discounted travel codes. APHA has negotiated discount codes with US Airways, United, Amtrak and Avis. For more information go to Check the APHA in San Francisco page developed by the city which includes tips on getting around and discounts to top San Francisco attractions.

Resources and News

New resources from APHA

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

Mobility and Aging: New Directions for Public Health Action. William A. Satariano, Jack M. Guralnik, Richard J. Jackson, Richard A. Marottoli, Elizabeth A. Phelan, and Thomas R. Prohaska. American Journal of Public Health: August 2012, Vol. 102, No. 8, pp. 1508-1515.

The Nation's Health August 2012 vol. 42: Support for Biking on the Rise (Full Article Requires Membership)

Additional new resources

Distractions Come Naturally to Teenage Drivers (also covered in Public Health Newswire): Drivers under 25 are up to three times more likely to send text messages or emails while driving than older drivers.

Traffic Deaths Increase 13.5% in 1st Quarter of 2012 as Motorists Increase Their Driving: An estimated 7,630 people died in motor vehicle crashes in the first quarter 2012, as opposed to 6,720 deaths in the first quarter of 2011.

Bicycle Studies Pick Up Speed In Academia: So far, more than 100 academic studies related to cycling have been published in 2012. 

Closing the Gap – Bike-Shares Help Complete the 'Last Mile': Bike sharing programs are increasingly helping passengers get from their starting points to their final destinations.

More Customers Biking to Metrorail Stations: In the nation's capital, bike parking usage is up 3% from 2011.

New Statistics Show Increase in Pedestrian Deaths in Traffic Crashes: The number of pedestrians killed in traffic crashes increased to 4,280 in 2010.

Sustainable Community Case Study Database

 The Partnership for Sustainable Communities recently launched the Sustainable Community Case Study database. The database provides access to reports on communities that are working with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies. The case studies are sortable, which means interested individuals can search for "transit" specific case studies.

Recent Transportation-Related Health Impact Assessments

Over the past year, Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) have become increasingly useful to evaluate the effects of transportation decisions on health. Currently, 20% of HIAs performed in the U.S. are transportation-related. HIAs use scientific data, professional expertise and stakeholders input to identify and evaluate public health consequences and suggest actions that could be taken to maximize health benefits and minimize adverse health impacts. They are necessary to benchmark the health implications of policies, projects and programs that are often unrecognized and overlooked. Health Impact Project has a comprehensive list of HIAs in the U.S. Three recent transportation-related HIAs helped public health officials assess the health impacts of proposed transportation infrastructure and transit fare changes. In New Haven, CT, an HIA focused on redeveloping Route 34 East as part of the Downtown Crossing Project. With plans to replace the road with developed land, the HIA found that the Project would increase physical activity. The HIA also showed that with the likely increase in bicycle and pedestrian traffic, the total number of injuries might increase. Therefore, the HIA recommended strategies to increase safety. In Massachusetts, the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston University School of Public Health and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council conducted a HIA of two proposals that aimed at reducing the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority projected deficit. The HIA assessed how the proposed service and fare change might impact health. The HIA coalition examined how the two proposals would influence vehicle miles travelled, time spent driving, ridership loss and air quality. The analysis showed that modest fare increases and service cuts to the transit system would negatively impact the health of the surrounding communities (decrease in air quality, more people switching to sedentary driving, etc). In August 2011 the town of Aberdeen, NC released the Aberdeen Pedestrian Transportation Plan (APTP). The goals of the APTP are to create more walkable spaces, increase pedestrian connectivity, calm traffic patterns and increase pedestrian safety (APTP, 2011). An HIA was conducted to measure the impacts of the APTP on child health and health disparities. It was concluded that the APTP would positively impact health among children ages 5-14 in Aberdeen. More information on the above HIAs can be found at On July 24, the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) and APHA held a free webinar titled “Using Health Impact Assessments to Connect Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety and Health.” This webinar is part of a three-part webinar series on active transportation and health. Two other webinars are scheduled for September and November, so please stay tuned for more details. During the webinar, participants heard two case studies. In Duluth, MN, 6th Avenue East Barrier acted as a barrier for all non‐motorized transportation with ongoing neighborhood concern about its safety. The HIA recommendations addressed accessibility and safety (e.g. bus stops), physical activity (e.g. sidewalks) and livability (e.g. “green” improvements). In Clark County, WA, a HIA was used to identify health benefits associated with the Clark County Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan and to recommend implementation strategies. The HIA examined existing conditions relating to social determinants of health, the built environment and health outcomes. 

Additional new research

A public health perspective on transport policy priorities. Milne EMG. Journal of Transport Geography. 2012; Vol. 21, pp. 62-69.

A review of evaluations of bicycle safety education as a countermeasure for child cyclist injury. Hatfield J. Journal of the Australasian College of Road Safety: 2012, Vol. 23, No. 2, pp. 20-22.Girls Walking

A study to investigate the walking speed of elderly adults with relation to pedestrian crossings. Bollard E, Fleming H. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice: 2012, ePub.

Developing safer passengers through a school-based injury prevention program. Chapman RL, Buckley L, Sheehan M. Safety Science: 2012, Vol. 50, No. 9, pp. 1857-1861.

Effects of obesity on seat belt fit. Reed MP, Ebert-Hamilton SM, Rupp JD. Traffic Injury Prevention: 2012, Vol. 13, No. 4, pp. 364-372.

Environmental factors influencing older adults' walking for transportation: a study using walk-along interviews. Van Cauwenberg J, Van Holle V, Simons D, Deridder R, Clarys P, Goubert L, Nasar J, Salmon J, De Bourdeaudhuij I, Deforche B. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity: 2012, Vol. 9, No. 1, p. 85.

Front versus rear seat placement of children aged 12 or younger within vehicles: a rural/urban comparison in North Dakota. Huseth-Zosel AL. Traffic Injury Prevention: 2012, Vol. 13, No. 44, pp. 388-392.

Impact of a graduated driver's license law on crashes involving young drivers in New York State. Cheng JD, Schubmehl H, Kahn SA, Gestring ML, Sangosanya A, Stassen NA, Bankey PE. Journal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery: 2012, Vol. 73, No. 2, pp. 457-461.

Impact of population density on collision rates in a rapidly developing rural, exurban area of Los Angeles County. Fischer K, Sternfeld I, Melnick DS. Injury Prevention: 2012, ePub.

Neighborhood walking among overweight and obese adults: age variations in barriers and motivators. Lee C, Ory MG, Yoon J, Forjuoh SN. Journal of Community Health: 2012, ePub.

Planning strategies for promoting environmentally suitable pedestrian pavements in cities. Mendoza JMF, Oliver-Solà J, Gabarrell X, Rieradevall J, Josa A. Transportation research part D: Transport and Environment: 2012, Vol. 17, No. 6, pp. 442-450.

BikingPreparing for bike-sharing: insight from focus groups and surveys, Chattanooga, Tennessee, 2010. Webster KM, Cunningham CJ. Health Promotion Practice: 2012, ePub.

Reliability testing of the Pedestrian and Bicycling Survey (PABS) method. Forsyth A, Krizek KJ, Agrawal AW, Stonebraker E. Journal Physical Activity and Health: 2012, Vol. 9, No. 5, pp. 677-688.

Sustainable commute in a car-dominant city: Factors affecting alternative mode choices among university students. Zhou J. Transportation research part A: policy and practice: 2012, Vol.  46, No. 7, pp. 1013-1029.

The association between sidewalk length and walking for different purposes in established neighborhoods. McCormack GR, Shiell A, Giles-Corti B, Begg S, Veerman JL, Geelhoed E, Amarasinghe A, Emery JH. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity: 2012, Vol. 9, No. 1, p. 92.

The effect on road safety of a modal shift from car to bicycle. Stipdonk H, Reurings M. Traffic Injury Prevention: 2012, Vol. 13, No. 4, pp. 412-421.

The influence of individual's risk perception and attitudes on travel behavior. Elias W, Shiftan Y. Transportation research part A: policy and practice: 2012, Vol. 46, No. 8, pp. 1241-1251.

Update: Percentage of young persons with a driver's license continues to drop. Sivak M, Schoettle B. Traffic Injury Prevention: 2012, Vol. 13, No. 4, pp. 341.


Get Involved

APHA webinars on health and equity in transportation: Promising methods and modes to improve health outcomes  
APHA is hosting a free webinar series this summer on critical health and equity issues in the transportation sector. These three, 60-minute APHA webinars will explore the ties between public health and increased use of public transportation; reduced injuries, particularly for children and young drivers; and increased access to goods and services, such as healthy foods, jobs, employment and health care, for all communities. Webinar dates and times, as well as guest speaker details, are provided online. Participants must register to join the webinars. Registration is available online; it is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. For those who missed previous webinars, they are archived on the APHA website. The third and final webinar will take place on Wednesday, August 22 from 2:00-3:00 pm EDT. It is titled "What Health Impact Assessments can do for Health Inequities."

Active Living Research: Using Evidence to Prevent Childhood Obesity and Create Active Communities
Active Living Research (ALR), a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, invites individuals to submit presentation and workshop abstracts and award nominations for its 10th Annual Conference on February 26-28, 2013, in San Diego, CA. The conference theme is "Achieving Change Across Sectors: Integrating Research, Policy and Practice", and recognizes the importance of engaging people from multiple disciplines to increase physical activity and combat obesity. ALR welcomes abstracts related to all populations and active living environments and encourages abstracts that inform strategies for increasing physical activity among racial and minority youth and those living in lower-income communities. For workshops, ALR is looking for high quality workshops that are interactive and have clear learning objectives for researchers and practitioners. The “Translating Research to Policy Award” acknowledges innovative teams or individuals who have had success in organizing policy or environmental change related to youth physical activity, sedentary behavior and obesity prevention. The winner will receive a cash prize and be invited to present at the 2013 ALR Annual Conference. The deadline to submit presentation abstracts, workshops and award nomination is August 31, 2012, 4:00 p.m. PT. 

Walkable and Livable Communities Institute
The Walkable and Livable Communities Institute recently released their Walkability Workbook, which helps communities understand the tools of walkability and provides resources needed to deliver walkability workshops and conduct walking audits on their own. The workbook helps communities improve the quality of life of their residents by creating walkable places, livable towns and better built environments. 

Health impact assessment funding opportunities
The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials has extended the deadline for proposals from state or territorial health agencies to conduct one Health Impact Assessment (HIA) by May 31, 2013. The primary purpose of this request for proposals is to build capacity for conducting HIAs among state or territorial health agencies through a hands-on, project-oriented approach. HIA targets can originate from a variety of sectors, but those with an environmental health focus will be given preference (e.g., transportation, land use). The deadline for applications has been extended to Friday, August 31, 2012, 5:00 PM. For more information, please visit

The Health Impact Project announced a call for proposals for grants to conduct health impact assessments. The call for proposals will support two kinds of awards: demonstration project grants of up to $75,000, which will each fund a single HIA to inform a specific upcoming decision on a proposed policy, program, plan, or project; and HIA program grants of up to $250,000, which will allow organizations with prior experience to conduct at least two new HIAs and to develop stable HIA programs that endure beyond the conclusion of the grant period.

A web conference call providing general information about the HIA Program grant initiative, strategies that agencies and organizations have used to create stable HIA programs and selection criteria will be held on August 15 from 3:00-4:00 ET. Space is limited, so please register at Participation in the web conference is strongly encouraged for anyone submitting or thinking about submitting a proposal. The webinar will cover information you will need for successful application and include a chance to ask questions about the application.

Partnership for Sustainable Communities
A new guide to federal programs from the Partnership for Sustainable Communities titled Federal Resources for Sustainable Communities cited transportation as a way to create livable and sustainable rural and tribal communities. The report provides different web links to transportation funding opportunities to increase active transportation, safety on rural roads and expand public transportation.

Star Community Index
On October 1st, STAR Communities plans to release Version 1.0 of the STAR Community Index, the nation's first standard for sustainable communities. This Index includes a number of goals and objectives that either directly address public health and safety (e.g., active living) or indirectly impact key community health and safety issues (e.g., transportation choices). The Star Communities staff is currently seeking cities/counties interested in engaging in a pilot program over 2012-13 to test their reporting tool and the rating system aspect of the program. Interested communities can fill out an Expression of Interest form online at Forms will be reviewed beginning August 15, 2012, and a waiting list will be maintained throughout the pilot program.

First-Ever National Women's Bicycling Summit
Registration is now open for the first-ever National Women’s Bicycling Summit on September 13 in Long Beach, California immediately after Pro Walk/Pro Bike. While women make up 51% of the American population, they took just 24% of U.S. bicycle trips in 2009. The Summit will allow everyday bicyclists and bicycle professionals to network, share best practices and develop action steps to close the gender gap. For more information about the summit and to register visit

Upcoming Events in 2012-2013

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 (APTA) 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 

13-17 - Transportation Research Board (TRB) Annual Meeting: Washington

7-9 - New Partners for Smart Growth Conference: Kansas City, Mo. 

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