New Report on Transpo-Health Dynamic Makes Case for National Targets

The link between transportation and public health, explored on this page days ago, is plumbed further in a report released today by PolicyLink and the Prevention Institute with an introduction by Jim Oberstar (D-MN), chairman of the House transport committee.

The report brings together the key pivot points in the transportation debate, many of which have led the news: safety, air pollution, greenhouse gases, physical activity, mental health, and equality.

And Oberstar, in his introduction, neatly sums up the regrettable but manageable consequences of the nation’s love affair with its interstates to the exclusion of other priorities:

The asphalt poured and lane miles constructed enhanced our mobility and strengthened our economic growth; but too often, this auto-centric mindset took hold and crowded out opportunities to invest in a truly sustainable intermodal transportation system, in particular a system that meets the needs of under-served communities.

Yet the report’s most compelling aspect may well be its discussion of the debate over adding national policy targets to the upcoming six-year transportation bill — a topic Oberstar has weighed in on of late.

Oberstar’s six-year legislation left out the national targets proposed by two senior Democratic senators, choosing instead to let states and localities set their own performance standards in conjunction with the U.S. DOT. But as PolicyLink’s report points out, setting nationwide transport reform priorities is a worthwhile goal:

[T]he legislation does more than provide money. It also communicates national policy priorities. Will we build roads on the farthest edges of regions or fix aging roads and bridges in cities and inner-ring suburbs? Will we invest in healthy, green transportation … Or will we spend most of the money as we have for decades: on new and bigger highways with little public accountability?

The bill establishes funding categories and requirements and in some cases gives communities and metropolitan regions flexibility to shape strategies to local needs. The new law is a chance to design communities for health, sustainability, and opportunity — and to give all Americans physically active, clean, affordable, convenient, reliable, and safe options to get where they need to go.

  • gecko

    Perhaps too unwieldy or difficult to fashion but would a policy based on a transportation-health-economic-environmental dynamic be optimum?

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Oberstar to White House: On Emissions, Back Up Your Words With Action

|
Appearing this morning at the release of a new report on transportation’s role in fighting climate change, House transportation committee chairman Jim Oberstar (D-MN) challenged the Obama administration to back up their emissions rhetoric with action and pass his six-year, $450 billion infrastructure bill. FTA’s Peter Rogoff (in hard hat) heard strong words from Rep. […]

New Report Examines the Media’s Role in the Gas Tax Debate

|
(Chart: University of Vermont Transportation Research Center) The success of state-level plans to increase gas taxes is tied to the media’s portrayal of the proposals in question, with narratives tied to "crumbling infrastructure" and "economic progress" showing more success than those emphasizing long-term transportation budget gaps, according to a new report released by the University […]

Annual Bike-Share Passes Now Cost Just $5 for Low-Income D.C. Residents

|
Cities all over the country have been experimenting with ways to make bike-share service accessible to people who don’t have a credit card and about $100 to drop all at once on an annual membership. In the last few years, Boston and Chicago both started offering $5 annual memberships for low-income residents. Edward Russell at Greater Greater Washington reports that […]

Annual Bike-Share Passes Now Cost Just $5 for Low-Income D.C. Residents

|
Cities all over the country have been experimenting with ways to make bike-share service accessible to people who don’t have a credit card and about $100 to drop all at once on an annual membership. In the last few years, Boston and Chicago both started offering $5 annual memberships for low-income residents. Edward Russell at Greater Greater Washington reports that […]

APTA Report Prescribes Public Transport to Improve Public Health

|
Transit use is correlated with decreases in the number of traffic crashes. Image: "Evaluating Public Transportation Health Benefits" A new report written by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute’s Todd Litman for the American Public Transit Association [PDF], the trade organization for the nation’s transit agencies, reminds us that one of the most valuable benefits of […]

Lawmakers Pitch Transport Funding Ideas, From VMT to Freight Taxes

|
Leaders of the House transportation committee, doggedly pursuing a six-year, $450 billion infrastructure bill this year, pressed their case this morning before Ways and Means Committee colleagues who must approve a new funding mechanism for their massive legislation. On transport funding, a question looms: Whither Ways and Means Committee Chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY)? (Photo: BusinessWeek) […]