Salud America! Launches Innovations in Transportation Equity Workgroup

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Our team at Salud America! of UT Health San Antonio is bringing together a new group of transportation, affordable housing, and health leaders from all across the country to promote equity in transportation for Latinos, thanks to a new Innovation, Equity and Exploration (IEE) grant from the Voices for Healthy Kids network!

The one-year, $30,000 grant will address equity gaps in the planning of transit, walking, and bicycling projects.

Why Seek Transportation Equity for Latino Communities?

Public Transit and Latinos infographic
An infographic from Salud America!‘s 2019 research review.

Many low-income Latinos depend on public transportation.

Yet routes are often inaccessible, infrequent, or costly, according to Salud America!’s State of Latino Housing, Transportation, and Green Space research review.

Poor planning of transit routes and bike and pedestrian paths often leave Latinos without a safe and affordable route to work, grocery stores, or community amenities. Additionally, many Latinos are having to sacrifice proximity to jobs and amenities to find affordable housing.

This spurs Latino health inequities.

Greater distances to daily destinations compounds the issue.

That’s where the new IEE workgroup led by Salud America! comes in.

“Our new workgroup will promote safer streets and equitable transit access for Latinos by developing policy and advocacy recommendations that facilitate the integration of complete streets and walking and bicycling with transit policies and projects,” said Dr. Amelie Ramirez, leader of Salud America! and the Department of Population Health Science at UT Health San Antonio.

Goals of the Equity in Transportation Workgroup

The new workgroup will consist of national and local experts from the fields of urban and regional planning, transportation and transit planning, affordable housing, local government, and advocates with public policy, public health, and social justice.

Workgroup members will meet monthly through June 2020.

“Members will have discussions, under go learning modules, and produce a final report to identify the latest best practices and effective, equitable policies in transit and active transportation to influence state, regional, and local transportation policy,” said group coordinator Amanda Merck, a researcher with Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio.

Workgroup members will address complete streets, walking, biking, and equitable transit integration by:

  • Determining what evidence already exists to support recommendations for improving frequent and equitable transit services in Latino communities;
  • Exploring the implications and unintended consequences of walking and bicycling projects that don’t connect Latinos to frequent transit service; and
  • Understanding what tools and resources advocates need to support integration of equitable transit with complete streets and walking and bicycling

Voices for Healthy Kids will update its existing policy agenda based on workgroup findings.

2019-2020 Voices for Healthy Kids IEE Grantees

In addition to Salud America!‘s workgroup, Voices for Healthy Kids is supporting other efforts to to promote healthy children and healthy weights:

  • The Public Health Law Center. Explore the implications of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) for policy interventions focused on child development and health of young children in non-parental settings.
  • ChangeLab Solutions. Investigate children’s mental health needs in schools to support policy and advocacy.
  • Healthy Food America and The Praxis Project. Address equity in sugary drink taxes and how to integrate communities in policy development and design.
  • The Physical Activity Research Center. Examine the impact and implementation of active transportation policies in rural communities.
  • The Safe Routes Partnership. Exploring topics on new shared mobility issues with potential to inform future policy in active transportation.

“[These grantees] will mobilize broad expertise, perspectives and advocacy capacity in an engagement model around health equity and the social determinants of health, advancing the public policy agenda of [Voices for Healthy Kids],” according to a news announcement.

Learn more about the many challenges that Latinos face with transportation access here.

Featured Photo Source: New Jersey Bicycle and Pedestrian Resource Center.

By The Numbers By The Numbers

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Pedestrians survive when hit by a car at 40 MPH

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