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PSRC Transportation Policy Board

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  • 09 Nov 2014 3:15 PM | Anonymous

    PSRC – November 6,2014 - Debora Nelson

    Elevating Health in Regional Transportation Planning

    Objective: Begin conversation for elevating health into the regional priority framework and into transportation planning processes.

    Key Topics:

    • Making the Connection: How transportation planning and projects impact the health of our communities.
    • Better understand PSRC’s upcoming processes: Get informed and provide input about where the region is headed.
    • Learn from the best practices: Learn how other regions are addressing health in transportation planning and performance measures.

    Goal for day: To gain a better understanding between the connection between transportation and public health and provide meaningful stakeholder input on how PSRC could elevate and measure public health and health equity in transportation planning.

    The facilitator was James Corless – Director, Transportation for America

    • We need to think of public health as a co-benefit to transportation.
    • How do we integrate health into transportation projects?
    • How do we get the data to implement this concept?
    • Can we be a leader in integrating this concept into Puget Sound?

    Robin Mayhew – Transportation – PSRC – Program Manager

    • PSRC would like feed back from communities to help move this topic into reality.
    • Items to consider: We need to include health partners into our dialogue, (public health officials).
    • Look at travel options that promote health in transportation projects.
    • Should “Health” be a stand alone topic in the Vision 2040 Transportation Performance Base Plan priorities list?
    • How can we best communicate the importance of health in the priorities list?
    • What were the strength and weaknesses of the travel demand model in PSRC?

    Jeffrey Tumlin – Principal and Director of Strategy, Nelson Nygaard (San Francisco based consulting firm) and co-author of the NACTO design guidelines.

    • Object Thinking: why health matters and simple steps cities and MPO’s can take to improve public health outcomes.
    • What can cities do to really think through this transportation-planning problem?  We can implement health and transportation into our comp plans.
    • Transportation has not tested the empirical data testing health issues such as Obesity and Diabetes. (These two health issues have risen with the increase of driving rather than walking.)
    • We need 10,000 steps per day to stay healthy.
    • Walking also builds oxytocin to help emotional health and outdoor activity increases oxytocin.
    • Performance Metrics – How do we measure the success of our transportation system?
    • The intersection level of service is the only tool to measure our systems.
      •  Traffic engineers look at foot traffic crowd as a failure of the system.
      • Economists consider foot traffic and look at the productive use of facility, how much money is spent at that facility.
      • Examples of a shift of measuring a transportation system and the using the economic model – Pearl Street in Brooklyn NY, they took away parking spots and the sales increased 172% in that area. Union Square North in Manhattan NY took away a lane, same positive economic benefit occurred.
      • Per Capita all MVT is dropping since 2005.
    • We are stuck in the mid 1950’s model of living with cars to go everywhere.
    •  We need to ask different questions – How well does the transportation system move people and goods to provide economic stability and a high quality of a healthy life?
    • Put the needs of daily life within walking distance and make the walk safe and enjoyable.
    • Bicycling needs to be for all age groups, BICYCLING = RETAIL SPENDING
    •  Adopt the right street design, change our street design manuals to urban design, do we use the NACTO guide in our cities or a guide from the 1950’s?
    •  Create a New Vision – What makes us healthy and happy? We need to build with this concept in mind. Are we happy having to drive everywhere or are we happier being able to walk or bike to the retail or other locations we frequent in our daily life? Another option is to build so that we can drive to one location, park and then walk to all the locations we need for shopping, banking, medical visits, etc. 

    Making the Connection: Public Health, Land Use and Equity discuss why this connection of health and transportation matters.

    Dr. Ngozi Oleru – Director of environmental health for Seattle and King Co; Hillary Franz – Exec. Director of Futurewise; Rich Stolz – Exec. Director , One America

    • Planning needs to reflect our social planning and life quality.
    • The lower income are moving away from accessibility of healthy lifestyle due to the economic factor of lower cost living out of the cities.
    • What are we trying to measure in health equity? Cardio health, access to healthy foods, mortality rate, etc.
    • How can PSRC best begin instigating the Health Equity Program? By incorporating the concept into the comp plans in our region: Walkability/Bicycles, Urban street design, access to healthy foods.
    • The Board of Health in King Co. has created guidelines for the comp plan and county plan.
    • Items to consider in this discussion in the future –
      • Are we using an equitable distribution of investments and policies for city planning?
      • Where have we invested in our cities in the past 5 – 10 years?
      • Have we engaged all people in our discussion? (Youth, seniors, low income, etc.)
      • Are the planning commissions on track with this concern of incorporating health into our zoning and planning processes?
      • Question to Transit: What is their priority of people movement? Jobs, Schools, Health Care, Healthy Food
      • Identify community partners in this discussion: Senior Centers, Manufacturing partners, Schools and City Commissions

    Dave Vautin- Senior Transportation Planner, Metro Transportation Commission ( San Francisco)

    • Make a transportation plan like a nutrition label.
    • Which transportation products do more for health? For congestion? What is the cost?
    • Have smarter target setting, most money is spent on existing infrastructure – this limits us from new projects.
    • San Francisco has a new set of measure plus targets; the Plan Bay area has a new MPO plan.
    • They focused on more alternatives dealing with getting people out of cars, rather than focusing on congestion because CONGESTON WILL NOT GO AWAY.


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