Politics of transportation and public health

South Bay and Peninsula: a meeting to discuss transportation and public health.

Rollcoll reports on a meeting between the Partnership for Active Transportation with with House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Highways and Transit Chairman Tom Petri (R-Wis) today.

This Partnership was formed in 2012 to link the efforts of transportation organizations such as Rails-To-Trail with physician-backed groups including the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Public Health Association.

Public health officials have long understood the impact that our transportation system has on health. Communities near highways have higher rates of asthma and other respiratory illnesses. More motor vehicle traffic leads to more injuries and more death.

More recently, there’s more awareness that the built environment can impact our transportation choices which, in turn, impacts community health. Efforts such as the Partnership for Active Transportation increase this awareness among public health officials, leading to a new avenue for activism.

TransForm, Santa Clara County Public Health , and San Mateo County Public Health are hosting a Transportation Choices and Health Community Summit a week from Saturday on February 22, 2014 from 9 AM to 5:30 PM.

The Summit aims to foster deep community engagement and meaningful participation in transportation and land use planning processes. We’ll provide trainings on what’s at stake and how to effectively get involved with plans, projects, and policies, as well as accessible and interactive workshops on best practices. The conference also provides a space to connect with public officials, organizations, and community leaders from across the region and learn how to join the movement for better transportation choices and access for all.

To attend you must purchase a ticket from TransForm.


  1. The session highlights indicate focus mostly on VTA, BART, Caltrain, and BRT. I don’t see biking and walking as a real focus on the news coverage article for the event (link below). That does not seem completely consistent with a summit to focus on the health connections of transport, or one with ‘Get Moving’ in the title. All those modes of transport still involve idle sitting, which recent studies have shown has a multitude of negative health aspects including a 50 percent increased risk of death from any cause, and a 125 percent increased risk of events associated with cardiovascular disease. Of course you can stand on BART if you want. Sitting on a bike is not like idle sitting of course, because exercise induces a different metabolic mode which only has benefits.



  2. I know the event organizer and I was going by what she told me.

    But taking Caltrain as a fer-instance, 40% of Caltrain riders either bike or walk to the station. I imagine the ratio of walkers is higher for most bus riders — who hasn’t seen the little old lady pushing her cart of groceries down the street from the bus stop? This is why transit is often lumped in with other active transportation choices.

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