209157 Injury, death and transportation: Levers to create safer, healthier communities

Wednesday, November 11, 2009: 11:15 AM

Janani Srikantharajah , Prevention Institute, Oakland, CA
Traffic crashes are the leading cause of death in the United States for people ages 4 to 34. Traffic injuries also contribute to ever-widening health disparities in the United States. Underlying these stark statistics is a transportation system that supports automobile use as the primary transportation option, with accompanying networks of roads and highways which continue to expand with little attention to their impacts on health, safety and the environment. By and large these conditions have become part of an accepted transportation norm –that motor vehicles are the dominant mode and that traffic injuries and deaths are uncontrollable factors that inevitably come with travel.

Many of the same transportation policies and practices that perpetuate traffic injuries and deaths also foster chronic diseases and environmental degradation, thus contributing in multiple ways to exacerbating poor health and health inequalities.

The reauthorization of the federal surface transportation act –a multi-year, multi-billion dollar federal bill which funds transportation at the national, state and local levels –is an opportunity to structure transportation programs to reduce the burden on the health care system, the economy, and society at large. The current political, social, and economic climate offers an opportunity to foster a national transportation strategy that addresses the complex health issues impacted by transportation policies and to help develop new norms.

This presentation will make clear the links between our current transportation system and high death and injury rates and present specific strategies and policy goals which can be implemented to create safer healthier communities.

Learning Objectives:
- Explain the links between injury, death and transportation planning and policy. - Identify strategies to create safer, healthier transportation systems which minimize injury and death. - Articulate the importance of transportation policy to injury prevention and more generally to public health. - Identify ways for health professionals and advocates to get involved in transportation policy.

Keywords: Injury Prevention, Environmental Justice

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Executive Director of Prevention Institute, specializing in injury prevention. Author of Injury Prevention, Health and Transportation commissioned by the Healthy Eating, Active Living Convergence Partnership (not yet published) Developed the spectrum of prevention and many years as an injury prevention specialist.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.