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March 2013 Newsletter

TRB Health and Transportation Subcommittee Newsletter
This Issue: Recap of 2013 Annual Meeting

Recap of 2013 TRB Annual Meeting, New Sharing Tools, and Top 10 Cross-Cutting Topics

Happy Spring, Subcommittee friends! Thank you for your interest in the latest news about the TRB Health and Transportation Subcommittee. We have many post-TRB Annual Meeting updates, and new ways for you to share your latest news. 

On the research front, up to 30 participants convened during 2012 and began developing research needs statements. They have been developed and posted on the website, and several others are in development. A paper call for TRB 2013 was also initiated; 27 papers were received and reviewed with an average of 4.2 reviewers per paper. Of the 27 papers, 9 were accepted for presentation with one advancing to publication (“Modeling Frequency and Duration of Out-of-Home Physical Activity Participation of School-Going Children,” 13-5356 Muhammad Ahsanul Habib and Naznin Sultana Daisy Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada).

In preparation for the annual meeting, the Subcommittee was very busy with the organization of several sessions. As with last year, the Subcommittee had a terrific Twitter presence at the TRB Annual Meeting; take a look at @trbhealth. And a logo for our growing Subcommittee was created (see above).

For 2013, we hope to have the website serve as a comprehensive catalogue of information that allows us to list all relevant activities and resources. This activity has already begun to take hold, as evidenced by the content on the website. As part of our networking efforts we want to develop a directory of individuals with Masters of Public Health (MPH) degrees who are working in our state departments of transportation, metropolitan planning organizations, transit agencies and the transportation consulting field and other transportation organizations to serve as a network for the exchange of common interests and emerging issues. Other activities under discussion by the Subcommittee may include a specialty conference, topical webinars as well as participating with other committees and groups as needed.

Photos from the TRB poster session:
food deserts poster

ipek sener

Two new ways to stay connected: LinkedIn and Facebook

The TRB Health and Transportation Subcommittee LinkedIn group and the Facebook group page are two new ways for us and other interested parties to communicate with each other and share the latest news. It's easy to join and participate!

For LinkedIn, you'll need to create a basic profile, if you haven't already (; once you are logged in, click on this link: The proper name is "Transportation Research Board Health and Transportation Subcommittee". Click the button that says "Join" once you are on the group's page.

For Facebook, you'll need to create a basic profile, if you haven't already ( Then visit!/groups/trbhealthandtransportation/ and ask to join the group.

Once approved on either or both groups, you can start discussions, conduct a poll, post a promotion for an event or product, or create a job posting. Help us grow and diversify by "sharing" the new groups on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter, or by inviting contacts from your email list. See you online!

Summary of TRB cross-cutting session now online

The Subcommittee recently developed a summary report that contains the notes taken from the TRB cross-cutting group session, Session 392, on Monday, January 14, 2013 in the Washington Hilton, Columbia Hall Room 6, sponsored by Policy and Organization (AB000), Planning and Environment (AD000), Legal Resources (AL000), Safety and System Users (AN000), Public Transportation (AP000), and Health and Transportation (ADD50(1)). The room was filled beyond capacity. In preparation for the group session the Subcommittee surveyed 179 of the 230 TRB Committees to solicit their interest in Health. For a synopsis, the top 10 thought-provoking themes and questions have been summarized below by Carey McAndrews:
  1. At a fundamental level, mobility and accessibility are necessary for health and well-being. The ability to travel and to carry out activities is a sign of social, economic, environmental, and personal well-being. 
  2. Public health views transportation as an environmental intervention that has the potential to improve health for entire populations. This contrasts with some traditional approaches in public health that have focused on reaching people one by one. We still need a better understanding of transportation’s effects on the health of different populations. For example, this might include understanding the health implications of how travel behavior and transportation needs vary across the life course. 
  3. We have serious occupational health problems among transportation workers. 
  4. Why do we sometimes get more traction when we present transportation as one cause of adverse public health outcomes, but other times do better when transportation is framed as part of the solution? 
  5. Transportation and health should be considered together in the larger context of social costs and benefits. Imagine if we paid for public health and transportation interventions from the same budget, how would we allocate resources differently than we do now? 
  6. Where does the issue of public health come up in transportation decision-making? In what circumstances do transportation decision makers consider health? 
  7. We need to quantify the effectiveness of transportation as a public health intervention, and its effectiveness compared to other types of public health interventions. 
  8. The public health sector can help the transportation sector (e.g., departments of transportation, transit agencies) include public health in its decision making by providing more numbers about the relationship between transportation and public health outcomes. 
  9. We need a fuller understanding of the social, economic, and health effects (and interactions, and feedback effects) of transportation interventions. Changes in travel may reflect larger changes in behavior, which could have a complex relationship to actual health outcomes. 
  10. Air quality and traffic injury prevention are still major problems that have not yet been "solved." We don’t yet know all that we need to know.

News of Note

Subcommittee Research Needs co-lead Andrew Dannenberg, along with other authors, released a paper on how people who take mass transit in large urban areas may more than meet their weekly recommended aerobic exercise requirement. Using data from the National Household Travel Survey, which is a telephone survey administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation, they examined travel behavior in the United States. The study, titled "Walking Associated With Public Transit: Moving Toward Increased Physical Activity in the United States," was published in the American Journal of Public Health, and found those who walked to mass transit in large urban areas with a rail system were 72 percent more likely to transit walk 30 minutes or more per day than were those without a rail system. Also, from 2001 to 2009, the estimated number of transit walkers rose from 7.5 million to 9.6 million (a 28 percent increase); those whose transit-associated walking time was 30 minutes or more increased from approximately 2.6 million to 3.4 million (a 31 percent increase).

CDC will be releasing an MMWR in May 2013 (approximately) on disparities among populations residing within 150 m of major highways. These factors were examined by the following social and demographic variables: age, sex, race/ethnicity, nativity, language spoken at home, educational attainment, and poverty status. The MMWR will be titled Residential Proximity to Major Highways — United States.

The National Association of Local Boards of Health (NALBOH) is updating their land use planning guide for local boards of health. Contact Carrie Hribar ( for more information.

New Research

New Press

Long, slow walks may beat shorter, higher intensity runs

The link between kids who walk or bike to school andconcentration is highlighted

People who take mass transit in large urban areas may morethan meet their weekly recommended aerobic exercise requirement

Traffic affects the poor and people of color: People of color tend to live near busy roads.

Safe Routes to School program reduces child injuries by more than 40 percent in New York City.

The U.S. has the highest rate of death by car crash compared to 16 peer countries.

New Resources

The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) released its first health impact assessment on Bus Rapid Transit (BRT).

Active Living Research released an infographic on the roleof transportation in promoting physical activity.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released a report on creating equitable, healthy and sustainable communities.

New FHWA health in transportation website launched: Earlier this year the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) launched a new website on health and transportation.This is growing and promises to be a comprehensive resource on the linkages between transportation and health.

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) published a series of policy guides on health in all policies and transportation. For more information, contact Kathy Dolan ( or Abe Kulungara (

The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) published an online toolkit on environmental public health and health in all policies, which includes many tools from their community design and land use online toolkit as well. For more information, contact Becky Johnson (

The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) has completed a new study on Health Impact Assessments. The paper, “Using Health Impact Assessments to Evaluate Bicycle and Pedestrian Plans,” is part of the PBIC’s new white paper series, which is designed to expand access to the latest pedestrian- and bicycle-related research, resources and tools. See this new white paper on using health impact assessments to evaluate bicycle and pedestrian plans. All PBIC white papers can be downloaded for free from the PBIC’s library. For more information, contact PBIC Communications Manager James Gallagher at (919) 843-7007 or

Also, the PBIC along with the American Public Health Association recently completed a series of webinars exploring the intersection of public health and walking and bicycling. Recordings of those webinars, as well as transcripts and presentation slides, can be found at

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 MPO, Puget Sound Regional Council (PSRC), Sacramento Area Council of Governments (SACOG), San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG).

The White House has released an updated fact sheet on drugged driving. Learn why this issue continues to threaten public safety, and what can be done to address it.

National Institutes of Health shared a new video onsafe street crossings for kids.

Calendar of Events

April 13-17 - American Planning Association Conference: Chicago

April 14-16 - Lifesavers National Conference on Highway Safety Priorities: Denver

April 14-16 - Main Streets Conference: New Orleans

April 14-17 - International Trails Symposium: Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation, Arizona

May 5-8 – APTA Bus and Paratransit Conference: Indianapolis

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.

July 27-31 – Association for Commuter Transportation International TDM Conference: San Antonio

Aug. 13-15 - Safe Routes to School National Conference: Sacramento, Calif.

Sep. 9-12 - Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals: Professional Development Seminar: Charlotte, N.C.

Sep. 24-25 - National Health Impact Assessment Meeting: Washington, D.C.

Sep. 29-Oct. 2 - American Public Transportation Association Annual Meeting: Chicago

Nov. 2-6 -  American Public Health Association Annual Meeting: Boston