March 2016
EWSE Webinars
Last month, the National Institute for Children's Health Quality (NICHQ), along with partners from AMCHP and the UNC Center for Maternal and Infant Health, turned their snow-cancelled AMCHP session "Improving the Health of New Mothers: Building Woman-Centered Postpartum Systems of Care" into a free public webinar. The full recording and slides can be found here.

Did you miss a previous Every Woman Southeast webinar? All of our archived webinars can be found on our website here.
Designing Better Streets through Policy Change 
Complete Streets Memphis
Complete Streets Memphis

Implementing policy to ensure that streets are safe and accessible for everyone -- motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, and transport users alike -- benefits entire communities. In this video, community and transportation leaders discuss the benefits of the Complete Streets concept in Memphis, Tennessee.
Click here to view an infographic that explains how better transportation means healthier lives. 

The U.S. Department of Transportation and CDC developed the Transportation and Health Tool (THT) to provide data that practitioners can use to examine the health impacts of transportation systems. The tool can be used to quickly see how your area compares with others in addressing key transportation and health issues. It also provides information and resources to help agencies better understand the links between transportation and health and to identify strategies to improve public health through transportation planning and policy.

The American Public Health Association (APHA) developed a Transportation and Health Toolkit to build a bridge between the public health and transportation communities -- to create a common language for use by public health advocates that ensures voices are heard by those who need to hear them. The toolkit includes resources, talking points, and outreach materials, all of which are available for download on their website.

How can public officials, community members, and city planners ensure that transportation policies consider impacts on health? The CDC developed the Transportation Health Impact Assessment (HIA) Toolkit to provide a framework for public health departments, city planners, project managers, and other stakeholders to conduct HIAs on proposed transportation projects, plans, and policies. It is designed to help policymakers see and address the potential health effects of a proposed transportation project, plan, or policy before it is built or implemented.
Social Determinants of Health:
Whether we move by foot, bicycle, skateboard, car, bus, or wheelchair, we all need to travel to meet every day needs. We use transportation to buy food, find housing, get to school and work, access recreational opportunities, visit friends and family, obtain health care and government services, and everything else we do outside of our homes.

Physical Activity & Body Weight
Auto-oriented built environments often entail more time spent driving, a sedentary (and often stressful) activity, while taking away time that might otherwise be used for health-promoting activities such as exercise or time with friends and family. Investments in transit, pedestrian, and bicycling facilities allow us to build moderate physical activity into our daily lives. They also help to shape walkable, transit-oriented communities that allow larger concentrations of people to walk, bicycle, and use transit for more of their daily trips.

Air Pollution
Built environments that necessitate more driving tend to generate more air pollution per capita. Depending on the pollutant and the specific weather patterns in a region, air pollution impacts can be global (think greenhouse gases and climate change), regional (like ozone) or local (as in fine particulate matter). Exposure to air pollution can result in asthma and other respiratory illnesses and trigger cardiac events, particularly among sensitive populations. Though counterintuitive, communities that are more walkable may have more residents who are exposed to hazardous air pollution. This is because people and traffic are concentrated into smaller areas. Measures that physically separate vehicle traffic from people and encourage cleaner-burning cars, buses, and trucks should be a priority in high-risk areas.

Traffic Safety
Traffic crashes kill thousands of people each year, and about 10% of those are pedestrians. In fact, motor vehicle crashes are considered one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. The connection between the built environment and traffic safety works in several ways. For example, the more people drive, the more likely they are to be in a crash. Wide roads that are designed to move lots of traffic at high speeds increase both the likelihood and the severity of a crash, especially for cyclists and pedestrians. The presence of sidewalks and design of streets, intersections, and other crossings can also support or undermine pedestrian safety. Narrower streets with sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and prominent crossings for pedestrians can slow traffic and reduce the number of crashes.

Household Expenses & Equity
Homebuyers and renters frequently trade less expensive housing for a longer commute, and then find themselves trapped into spending more hours behind the wheel and more money on gas and vehicle maintenance. For low-income households, accessing
jobs and services from a lower-cost home location may mean trying to get by on public transportation or deferring other household expenses in order to continue to get to work by car. Notably, however, once the expenses of vehicle ownership are accounted for, close-in, walkable, and transit-oriented neighborhoods may actually be less costly than suburban locations because they allow families to reduce auto ownership or simply drive less. Investments in improving transit service to neighborhoods that are already centrally located and walkable can therefore benefit low-income households, especially when these improvements are made in combination with strategies to provide affordable housing.
Transportation Resources

The Equity Caucus at Transportation for America --formed by the nation's leading civil rights, community development, disability, racial justice, economic justice, faith-based, health, housing, labor, environmental justice, tribal, public interest, women's groups and transportation organizations -- drives transportation policies that advance economic and social equity in America.

The WALC Institute helps to create healthy, connected communities that support opportunities for active living through walkable and bikeable streets, livable cities, and better built environments. Each year, they help as many as 80 communities by providing technical assistance and working with them to plot a course toward a more walkable future. They also develop and disseminate educational tools and materials and produce photo-visions to help leaders and residents see for themselves how walkability, bikeability, and livability can transform the community.
New Blog Post!

Kiana Thomas, one of our EWSE Preconception Fellows, was featured in the Office of Minority Health's Preconception Peer Educator Blog, available here.

Melody Geraci, Deputy Executive Director of the Active Transportation Alliance, discusses in her blog, Transportation and Public Health: A Growing Alliance, the impact transportation has on health and the importance of agency partnerships.

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