Guest Post: Why Transportation is a Public Health Issue

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BY SAM SHWARTZ |||

About 6 or 7 years ago I attended a meeting of the transportation committee of Chicago’s Metropolitan Planning Council. The co-chair, to my surprise, was a medical doctor- specifically a pediatrician. Dr. Kyran Quinlan explained his participation saying he was tired of seeing so many children in the ER after being struck by cars. He was also alarmed at the rising incidence of diseases in children such as obesity and diabetes. He saw changing how we travel as key to addressing both.  I was sure Quinlan wasn’t the only health professional thinking this way. I was elated at the thought of joining forces with the public health community.

Soon I began to meet others in the medical community with similar thoughts about preventing childhood as well as adult diseases (while reducing crash injuries and fatalities) by changing our land use and travel patterns. This only made the argument for more walkable, bikeable and good transit cities more powerful. . .

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