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Transportation and Public Health e-Newsletter

February 2013
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Greetings, public health leaders and advocates,
Lots of new reports, calls for presentations and ways to get involved emerged this month. Many valuable resources and articles on transportation and health, in addition to original research published in assorted journals, have been released in recent weeks and are available below.
We hope that you’ll share these resources and this e-newsletter with your friends, family and colleagues.
Thank you,
APHA Highlights
Annual Scorecard on Traffic Safety in the Nation
roadmap cover
While overall highway deaths and the fatality rate have declined in recent years, the trend is reversing. Preliminary data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that the first nine months of 2012 saw fatalities rise 7.1 percent over the previous year — the largest uptick in traffic fatalities since 1975. And every year, crashes lead to about 33,000 deaths and 2 million injuries costing more than $230 billion. Traffic safety advocates recently released an annual scorecard measuring state progress in adopting 15 basic traffic safety laws.
Amid this deadly surge, fewer states showed progress in adopting safety laws last year, according to the 2013 Roadmap of State Highway Safety Laws, published by Advocates for Auto and Highway Safety.
“The most effective strategy to combat this public health problem is prevention,” said APHA President Adewale Troutman, who helped roll out the report. “Years of research show that driving sober, properly restraining our children in cars, protecting novice teen drivers and keeping our hands on the wheel and our eyes on the road will prevent crashes.” Read more about this new resource via Public Health Newswire.
Injury Prevention: How the Built Environment Impacts the Safety of Communities
– Special feature by APHA 2012 intern, Nicholas Shaffer
The built environment can be constructed to help prevent injuries. In fact, injury prevention strategies that decrease risk through better design of the built environment are among the most successful interventions and can last years. The built environment can also be used to prevent violence. Built environment features that increase "eyes on the street" (e.g., outside lighting, neighborhoods with frequent pedestrian activity) may help decrease crime. The built environment should be designed with health effects and injury prevention in mind. In the US, 40 percent of pedestrian fatalities occur where there was no crosswalk nearby. 10 percent of fatalities occur inside a crosswalk. The pedestrian fatality rate is 2.91 per 100,000 persons in counties where more than 20 percent of households have incomes below the poverty line (national average is 1.6 deaths per 100,000 persons).
There are many ways that the built environment can prevent injury and violence. Improved lighting has been shown to reduce nighttime pedestrian fatalities at crossings by 78 percent. When protected bike lanes are installed in New York City, injury crashes for all road users (drivers, pedestrians and cyclists) typically drop by 40 percent and by more than 50 percent in some locations. Increased walking, cycling and public transit travel tends to reduce crime rates by providing increased monitoring of city streets and transit waiting areas.
One example of successful improvements to the built environment comes from California. Boyle Heights is a predominantly Latino community that lacked adequate space to exercise. The residents of Boyle Heights were able to transform a cracked and broken sidewalk into a 1.5 mile rubberized jogging path. Since the completion of the path, daily use has increased from about 200 to more than 1,000 people.
bike rack
In Florida, the design in the downtown and waterfront areas of Fort Pierce created an unsafe pedestrian environment and attracted crime. To address these issues, the city of Fort Pierce built a roundabout at the gateway between the downtown and waterfront areas, which serves as a traffic-calming device. Extending from the roundabout is a newly constructed connected system of streets. These new streets are built with curb extensions, median refuge islands and clearly marked crosswalks, making pedestrian crossing safer. With the new infrastructure additions, pedestrian activity has increased.
In 2006, the Phoenix Department of Street Transportation began constructing a pedestrian underpass that would bypass a six-lane street, where three pedestrians had been killed in the past 10 years. The underpass has security lighting, a skylight and a wide, unobstructed environment that helps promote security. Improvements made to the surrounding intersections also helped increase pedestrian and bicycling safety. The city built enlarged pedestrian and bike refuge areas, new directional ramps at corners and way-finding markers at intersections and pedestrian countdown indicators on traffic signals. For more information about designing healthy environments, see CDC’s fact sheet on the topic and APHA’s reports and fact sheets.
Resources and News
New resources from the American Journal of Public Health, The Nation's Health and Public Health Newswire:
Impact evaluation of a public bicycle share program on cycling: a case example of BIXI in Montreal, Quebec. Fuller D, Gauvin L, Kestens Y, Daniel M, Fournier M, Morency P, Drouin L. American Journal of Public Health: 2013; ePub(ePub): ePub.
The Ciclovia and Cicloruta programs: Promising interventions to promote physical activity and social capital in Bogotá, Colombia. Torres A, Sarmiento OL, Stauber C, Zarama R. American Journal of Public Health: February 2013, Vol. 103, No. 2, pp. e23-e30.
Trends and correlates of child passenger restraint use in 6 Northwest Tribes: The Native Children Always Ride Safe (Native CARS) Project. Lapidus JA, Holdaway Smith N, Lutz T, Ebel BE. American Journal of Public Health: February 2013, Vol. 103, No. 2, pp. 355-361.
Urban sprawl, physical activity, and body mass index: Nurses’ Health Study and Nurses’ Health Study II. James P, Troped PJ, Hart JE, Joshu CE, Colditz GA, Brownson RC, Ewing R, Laden F. American Journal of Public Health: February 2013, Vol. 103, No. 2, pp. 369-375.
Walking associated with public transit: moving toward increased physical activity in the United States. Freeland AL, Banerjee SN, Dannenberg AL, Wendel AM. American Journal of Public Health: 2013; ePub(ePub): ePub.
Public Health Newswire Jan. 29 news: bike lane effects
Other resources and news:
Traffic affects the poor and people of color: People of color tend to live near busy roads
A newly released white paper by the USDOT's Volpe National Transportation Systems Center shows how health can effectively be incorporated in metropolitan transportation planning, and includes four case studies: Nashville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization, Puget Sound Regional Council, Sacramento Area Council of Governments, San Diego Association of Governments.
Transportation for America has released a guidebook on MAP-21, the latest federal transportation authorization, and it includes explanations of the key features of the new law.
A model of community pediatrics: Improving access to safe play environments. Hodges NL, Smith GA. Pediatrics 2013; ePub(ePub): ePub.
Effect of bike lane infrastructure improvements on ridership in one New Orleans neighborhood. Parker KM, Rice J, Gustat J, Ruley J, Spriggs A, Johnson C. Ann. Behav. Med. 2013; ePub(ePub): ePub.

Get Involved
Participate in Global Youth Traffic Safety Month
Every year in May, young people across the nation unite during Global Youth Traffic Safety Month to focus on the leading cause of death for themselves and their peers: traffic-related crashes. Participate in Global Youth Traffic Safety Month by joining Act Out Loud, which is the traffic safety campaign designed with young adults in mind. 
Attend a free America Walks webinar 
On Feb. 14, join America Walks for a free webinar titled Follow the Leader > Successful Walking Initiatives. Speakers will include representatives from GirlTrek, Oregon Walks, Count on Yourself Coaching and The YMCA of the USA, who will provide their strategies for mobilizing communities to implement successful walking initiatives.
Opportunities to present
There are many open calls for presentations and abstracts: Act today!
Safe Routes to School National Conference, Aug. 13-15, Sacramento, Calif. Call for Session Proposals opens January 7, closes February 15, 2013.
National Rural Transportation Conference, April 24-26, Greenville, S.C. Call for Presentation Abstracts, March 1.
Women's Transportation Seminar National Conference, May 15-17, Philadelphia, Pa. Call for Poster Presentations, March 4.
Upcoming Events in 2013
Feb. 7-9 - New Partners for Smart Growth Conference: Kansas City, Mo.
Feb. 26-28 - Active Living Research Conference: San Diego
March 4-6 - National Bike Summit: Washington, D.C.
April 13-17 - American Planning Association Conference: Chicago
April 14-16 - Main Streets Conference: New Orleans
April 14-17 - International Trails Symposium: Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Arizona
May 29-June 1 - Annual Congress for the New Urbanism: Salt Lake City
June 2-7 - Community Transportation Association Expo: Albuquerque, N.M.
June 23-27 - International Making Cities Livable Conference: Portland, Ore.
Aug. 13-15 - Safe Routes to School National Conference: Sacramento, Calif.
 Sep. 24-25 - National Health Impact Assessment Meeting: Washington, D.C.
 Nov. 2-6 – APHA Annual Meeting: Boston


Crosswalk with pedestrians.

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