FHWA established the Health in Transportation Working Group in early 2012 in response to growing interest in the intersection of health and transportation within the agency. The Working Group initially included representatives from various FHWA Offices, including: Chief Counsel, Federal Lands Highway, Human Environment, Natural Environment, Planning, Project Development and Environmental Review, Resource Center Environment and Planning Technical Service Teams, Safety, and Transportation Policy Studies. In the past year, the Working Group expanded its membership to include representatives of the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Office of the Secretary of Transportation (OST).
In March 2012, the Working Group created a charter that articulated its purpose: to develop an agency-wide understanding of health in transportation, identify aspects of existing agency programs that relate to health, and address health-related concerns and communicate these concerns with FHWA management. During its first year, the Working Group identified projects, activities, and initiatives throughout FHWA and U.S. DOT that target positive health outcomes of transportation programs. The Working Group also discussed the need for FHWA to more explicitly address health issues in transportation and made plans to improve internal and external communication regarding the health outcomes of existing programs.
The Working Group updated its charter in early 2013 to include additional activities, including developing resources and expertise within FHWA related to health, improving leadership and communication with FHWA staff on transportation's role in health, and establishing a more standardized approach to addressing health issues and requests. Looking forward to the following year, they also made plans to conduct research on ways to improve the connection between health and transportation. Finally, the Working Group decided to expand its awareness of and involvement in health and transportation activities at other Federal, State, local, and not-for-profit agencies. For example, they sought to become more familiar with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' National Prevention Strategy and how FHWA Headquarters and Division Offices could participate in the initiative.
In 2013, the Working Group held five teleconferences and one in-person meeting in Washington, D.C. Members used these six meetings to offer information on upcoming events and initiatives related to health in transportation; to plan for new projects and activities; and to summarize progress toward the completion of products. Notable accomplishments during the past year included:
In addition to these accomplishments, which are described in greater detail in Section 3 of this report, the Working Group also made several key decisions regarding its future priorities and activities. These include: