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Health in Transportation Working Group - 2013 Annual Report

4. Other Health in Transportation Accomplishments in 2013

In addition to the accomplishments in 2013 described in Section 3, many members had other health in transportation accomplishments within their roles outside of the Working Group. These accomplishments are listed below.


OST Transportation and Health Tool

The CDC and OST have partnered to develop a simple-to-use transportation and health tool to help transportation decisionmakers to understand how their community or State compares to their peers in terms of key health and transportation indicators. The online tool will allow agencies to assess how their communities are performing in terms of health and transportation, help agencies determine where to incorporate health measures in its decisionmaking, and will recommend policy improvements. CDC and OST are planning to launch the tool in the fall of 2014. The Transportation and Health Tool brochure provides more information on this resource.

FHWA Tool kit for Integrating Land Use and Transportation Decisionmaking

FHWA's Tool Kit for Integrating Land Use and Transportation Decisionmaking is a collection of resources that provide a user-friendly, web-based source of methods, strategies, and procedures for integrating land use and transportation planning, decisionmaking, and project implementation. Robin Smith worked with the Volpe Center to expand the tool kit to include examples of connections between transportation agencies and public health agencies.

FHWA Public Roads Article

Ed Christopher co-authored an article for the FHWA magazine Public Roads that summarizes health in transportation activities at the metropolitan, State, and Federal levels. The article, How Does Transportation Affect Public Health?, was published in the May/June 2013 issue of Public Roads.

FHWA Statewide Transportation Planning for Healthy Communities Report

FHWA developed the Statewide Transportation Planning for Healthy Communities Report. It identifies an integrated and flexible approach to how States and their partners can successfully consider aspects of health during the transportation planning process. The report proposes a framework for States and partners to use to integrate health into statewide transportation planning. It expands upon the recent Metropolitan Area Transportation Planning for Healthy Communities Report to develop a comprehensive approach to considering health during all stages of the statewide transportation planning process.

Federal Funding Programs

Transportation Alternatives program

The Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), authorized under the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21), provides funding for programs and projects defined as transportation alternatives, including on- and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities, infrastructure projects for improving non-driver access to public transportation, and enhanced mobility. The TAP replaced the Transportation Enhancement Activities and Safe Routes to School (SRTS) programs, which were two of the largest funding sources for nonmotorized transportation under prior legislation. FHWA completed the TAP Guidance and Questions and Answers in June 2013, which provide information about TAP in general, as well as on SRTS and the Recreational Trails Program (RTP).

Recretational trails program Annual Report

The RTP provides funds to States to develop and maintain recreational trails and trail-related facilities for both nonmotorized and motorized recreational trail uses. FHWA recently completed the 2013 RTP Annual Report, which has a section on how the RTP promotes health outcomes through increased physical activity, as well as sections on accessibility improvements, safe and livable communities, active transportation, environmental protection, and safety education.

Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs and Projects

The States obligated $676 million in Federal-aid highway program funds for bicycle and pedestrian programs and projects in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 through the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP). This was a 20 percent decrease compared to FY 2012, reflecting significant changes necessary to implement MAP-21 requirements. This figure may rise in FY 2014 as States implement projects selected under MAP-21.

Conferences and Meetings

2013 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference

Fred Bowers participated in the 2013 New Partners for Smart Growth Conference, where he took part in a session on incorporating transportation and health and met with SRTS representatives to discuss the potential for planning a peer exchange to improve the planning process within SRTS programs.

2013 National Health Impact Assessment Meeting

Ed Christopher, Victoria Martinez, and Robin Smith attended the 2013 National HIA Meeting on September 24-25. This meeting was mainly aimed at public health agencies who were awarded grants to perform HIAs. FHWA was provided an opportunity to discuss transportation programs and policies that support healthy outcomes with these health professionals and other stakeholders during a breakout session.

Funding for Health and Transportation Conferences

FHWA provided limited conference co-sponsorship in FY 2013 for several conferences related to health or that had tracks or sessions related to health and physical activity.

Coordination with Other Organizations and Groups

International Discussions on Health and Transportation

Fred Bowers attended an annual meeting with the Dutch Embassy, where the conversation focused on performance measures. He hopes that next year the focus of the discussion will be health in transportation. At the meeting, Fred Bowers learned about Polis: European Cities and Regions Networking for Innovative Transport Solutions and its initiatives in health and transportation. Within Polis' Environment and Health in Transport focus area, the group addresses several categories, including cycling and walking, noise, air quality, climate change, mobility and health, and cleaner vehicles and alternative fuels.

FHWA Livability Working group

The Office of Human Environment convenes the FHWA Program Offices bi-monthly to coordinate and share information related to livability. The Office of the Secretary's Policy Office also participates in the meetings.


The Office of Human Environment Working Group is a collaborative effort among multiple FHWA Offices to leverage and integrate human environment activities such as livability, health in transportation, and bicycle and pedestrian activities in support of agency initiatives, programs, and project delivery.

National Prevention Council

The National Prevention Council, created through the Affordable Care Act, comprises 20 Federal departments, agencies, and offices and is chaired by the Surgeon General. Lilly Shoup serves as the U.S. DOT designee to the National Prevention Council. OST is submitting a summary of its activities related to health and injury prevention to be included in the 2013 National Prevention Council Annual Status Report of Federal activities related to health.

The National Prevention Council developed the National Prevention Strategy with input from the Prevention Advisory Group, stakeholders, and the public. The Strategy, which was released on June 16, 2011, aims to guide the U.S. in the most effective and achievable means for improving health and well-being. The Strategy prioritizes prevention by integrating recommendations and actions across multiple settings to improve health and save lives.

One of the National Prevention Strategy's seven priorities is active living. Robin Smith served on the Active Living Committee for FHWA Region 8 for the National Prevention Strategy and also worked on National Get Outdoors Day. The group is working with Central Federal Lands Highway and the FHWA Colorado Division Office to connect three Colorado's urban National Wildlife Refuges together via local trails.

Transportation Research Board Health and Transportation Subcommittee

Ed Christopher serves as co-chair of the TRB Health and Transportation Subcommittee, which advances research, education, and professional practice in public health and transportation. Relevant subcommittee activities and accomplishments include:

United We Ride

United We Ride is an initiative of the interagency Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility, which is chaired by the Secretary of Transportation. United We Ride makes recommendations that improve the availability, quality, and efficient delivery of transportation services to transportation disadvantaged populations, including persons with disabilities. Doug Birnie, an FTA representative involved in the United We Ride program, delivered a presentation to the Working Group regarding the program and its upcoming initiatives as they relate to health in transportation. In December members of the Working Group had a follow-up meeting with a subcommittee of United We Ride and made plans to stay apprised of their activities and to seek opportunities for further coordination.

Updated: 11/25/2015
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