Public Health, Climate Change, and Federal Transportation Policy 1

Wed, 14 Jan 2009 18:30:00 GMT

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) invites you to a briefing to examine the public health impacts and costs associated with transportation in the United States. The briefing will address how federal transportation infrastructure policies can improve public health and mitigate climate change at the same time. Panelists will include:

  • Lawrence Frank, PhD, Professor, Sustainable Transportation Program, University of British Columbia
  • Patrick Kinney, ScD, Associate Professor, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University
  • Thomas Gotschi, PhD, Director of Research, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
  • Jenelle Krishnamoorthy, PhD, Professional Staff, Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee
  • Susan Abramson, MHS, Director, Public Health Policy Center, American Public Health Association

The transportation sector is associated with multiple public health risk factors – adding billions of dollars to our national healthcare bill – while accounting for approximately 28 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. This briefing will explore an emerging body of research documenting local, regional and national health impacts from transportation and implications for addressing transportation-related impacts on climate change.

Exposure to air pollution from vehicles has been linked to premature deaths, cancer, asthma, and other lung ailments. Time spent driving and limited options to walk or bike have been shown to be significant risk factors for health problems associated with physical inactivity, such as stress and obesity, which have reached epidemic proportions in the United States. Many of these impacts, asthma and obesity in particular, disproportionately affect children. Recent studies suggest that climate change will exacerbate many of these impacts, however, transportation strategies to address these public health concerns have proven effective measures to help mitigate climate change.

Federal economic stimulus legislation as well as anticipated federal transportation, climate, and energy bills are all important opportunities to address the public health impacts and costs associated with transportation as well as energy security and climate protection goals. Key questions to be addressed include:

  • What are the public health impacts associated with transportation?
  • What are the opportunities to simultaneously address climate change and different public health impacts associated with transportation?
  • What transportation policy options would be most appropriate and effective to address both public health and climate change goals?

This briefing is free and open to the public. No RSVP required. For more information, contact Jan Lars Mueller at (202) 662-1883 or jmueller@eesi.org.

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