American Public Transportation Association
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is an international association that conducts transportation-related advocacy, research, and communications on behalf of more than 1,500 organizations, including public and private agencies, academic institutions, and trade publications in the fields of transportation and planning. In 2013, APTA worked to highlight the impact that transportation systems can have on health and to support the design of transportation systems that promote health, as recommended in the National Prevention Strategy.
Communications and Professional Development
Noting that 3.6 million medical appointments are missed or delayed every year due to transportation problems, APTA Chair Flora Castillo announced that one of her initiatives in 2013 would be to focus on improving public transportation to health services. APTA worked to promote awareness of the links between transportation and health among professionals in the respective sectors by:
- Meeting with more than 20 organizations in the health services community: emphasizing the need for health facilities to be highly accessible, APTA raised the profile of transportation as a major consideration during the planning and development of new healthcare facilities.
- Arranging its first-ever panel session on transportation and health for the 2013 APTA Annual Meeting & Exposition, attended by professionals from transportation and related sectors. The session, titled “Public Transportation, Access to Health Services, and Healthy Living,” featured key partners from the field of public health such as American Public Health Association Executive Director Dr. Georges Benjamin.
- Developing an online toolkit that guides APTA members on reaching out to veterans about public transportation services and access to resources.
The messages that APTA disseminated through its communication and professional development efforts highlighted the importance of strong transportation networks not only for accessible Clinical and Community Preventive Services, but also for Healthy and Safe Community Environments [PDF] and Elimination of Health Disparities [PDF]. In addition to emphasizing the importance of access to health services, APTA shared information about:
- The relative impact of various types of community design on physical activity;
- The relative impact of various transportation systems on air quality and respiratory health;
- Rates of accident-related injury in various transportation systems;
- The relative impact of various transportation modes on individual stress level; and
- The affordability of various transportation options for low-income individuals.
The U.S. Department of Transportation selected APTA, in partnership with the Community Transportation Association of America and the Easter Seals Transportation Group, to lead the new National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM). NCMM offers technical assistance services, such as online resources and training, to facilitate the adoption of community strategies that empower people with limited personal mobility or resources to access medical services and live independently. Through this work, APTA is advancing the NPS Strategic Directions of Clinical and Community Preventive Services and Empowered People.
By raising awareness of the links between transportation and health and promoting effective mobility management strategies, APTA is advancing the implementation of NPS recommendations in communities across the country.