ITE Journal May 2018 - 14

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These metrics can answer certain health-related questions about fatal and serious injury
crashes, noise and air pollution, and even a
project's effect on active transportation, but
they only brush the surface. Engineers still
struggle with broader questions dealing with
equity, competing social agendas, and deceptively simple tradeoffs between level of service
improvements and quality of life. In short, the
typical transportation metrics do not address
many of the critical health outcomes associated with arterials. Before suggesting what
the transportation community could do about
this, it is worthwhile to look at the issue from
the public health professionals' perspective.
In 2017, members of the TRB Arterial Health
Task Force argued why practitioners in public
health and transportation should be concerned with arterials.4
1. There is extensive health literature documenting adverse effects of pollution
from the transportation system. These
adverse effects include increased risk
of cancer, respiratory and cardiovascular disease, poor birth outcomes,
and many other negative effects.5 For
example, research has shown that a
mother's exposure to traffic on nearby
streets increases the odds of low birthweight, and these odds increase with
traffic density.6,7 The high traffic density
on arterial roads may be a significant
source of these negative health effects.
2. Arterials are generally smaller than
major freeways, but they can cause
equivalent noise and air pollution.
Depending on traffic conditions, these
problems may be even greater on arterials.8 Indoor air quality near arterials
has also been a major concern as cities
and regions increasingly adopt policies
that encourage high-density housing
and transit-oriented development
along existing arterial corridors.9
3. Injury prevention is another area that
calls attention to arterials. Arterials
expose all of its users-motorists,
pedestrians, cyclists, and transit
14

May 2018

i te jo urn al

4.

riders-to safety hazards such as high
speeds without sufficient protection.
Transportation injury metrics do not
generally report separately for arterial
roads in the United States, but research
about road design and traffic suggest
that arterials are an injury risk factor.
Arterials can function as physical barriers that diminish neighborhood-level
social and economic connections.
Barriers to access are a transportation
and health problem for many people,
particularly older and younger travelers,
people with limited physical mobility, and people living in low-income
communities.10, 11 On some arterials,
exposure to incivilities such as graffiti,
litter, and drug and alcohol use can
limit access and may be associated
with stigma and chronic stress.12,13

A few themes are salient in the health professionals' perspective. The first is that their
focus goes far beyond that of roadway operation, vehicle and pedestrian flows, and
optimization. They are concerned with a
much broader picture, commonly referred to
as the social determinants of health (SDOH).
The SDOH are the conditions in our everyday
environments that affect a wide range of
health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. The SDOH include economic
stability, education, social and community

connections, health care, neighborhoods
and other everyday built environments.14 If
one does a deep dive into the SODH, they
would find that transportation themes run
through all of them-themes that transportation engineers face on a daily basis.
A second point is that tradeoffs or conflicting goals characterize arterials.
Transportation engineers face new tradeoffs
as they encounter health as a social goal
for the transportation system. At a session
of the 2018 TRB Annual Meeting, Shawn J.
Leight, Vice President at CBB Transportation
Engineers + Planners and Past International
President of ITE, identified several of these
tradeoffs. According to Mr. Leight:
Vision Zero seeks to reduce vehicular fatalities
and serious injury crashes, which is a good
thing. Safe Routes to School seeks to promote health through active living, another
good thing. However, in some communities, pedestrian access to schools conflicts
with safety because schools are located on
high-speed or high-volume roadways that
are unsafe for children to cross. How does
the traffic engineer quantify the tradeoffs
between promoting active transportation
and the increased risk to young travelers?15
Tradeoffs are an age-old issue for arterials.
How does one decide on the design of an

Table 1. Selected Design Characteristics of Arterials that Potentially Promote or Hinder Health.4
Health-Promoting Design

Unhealthy Design

Neighborhood asset for access and commerce

Physical barrier that divides neighborhoods

Supports neighborhood social and cultural connections Exhibits neglect and physical decay
Safe travel speeds for all users

Traffic speeds too high to be safe for all users

Comfortable for all users to cross

Difficult to cross because of design and traffic

Link within pedestrian and bicycle networks

Barrier within pedestrian and bicycle networks

Designed to mitigate air pollution

Near-roadway air pollution

Designed to mitigate noise

Source of noise

Accessible to users of all abilities

Inaccessible to users with disabilities

Supports green infrastructure systems

Impervious paving materials, lack of shade

Contributes to revitalization without displacement

Location of residential and business gentrification



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ITE Journal May 2018

President’s Message
Director’s Message
People in the Profession
ITE News
ITE, FHWA, and Carmanah Rally to Keep Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons in Our Safety Toolbox
Improving Arterial Roads to Support Public Health: How Can We Do This?
ITE’s Transportation and Health Initiative
Technical Programs Division Spotlight
Industry News
Calendar
Where in the World?
Member to Member: Jing Zhang, AICP, PTP, LEED AP ND
Countermeasures Prove Effective in Reducing Bicycle Collisions
Guidance on Signal Control Strategies for Pedestrians to Improve Walkability
Factors Affecting Vehicle Passing Distance and Encroachments While Overtaking Cyclists
Measuring the Success of Modal Shift: The Impact on Last Mile Connectivity
Professional Services Directory
ITE Journal May 2018 - 1
ITE Journal May 2018 - 2
ITE Journal May 2018 - 3
ITE Journal May 2018 - President’s Message
ITE Journal May 2018 - 5
ITE Journal May 2018 - Director’s Message
ITE Journal May 2018 - 7
ITE Journal May 2018 - People in the Profession
ITE Journal May 2018 - 9
ITE Journal May 2018 - 10
ITE Journal May 2018 - ITE News
ITE Journal May 2018 - ITE, FHWA, and Carmanah Rally to Keep Rectangular Rapid-Flashing Beacons in Our Safety Toolbox
ITE Journal May 2018 - Improving Arterial Roads to Support Public Health: How Can We Do This?
ITE Journal May 2018 - 14
ITE Journal May 2018 - 15
ITE Journal May 2018 - 16
ITE Journal May 2018 - ITE’s Transportation and Health Initiative
ITE Journal May 2018 - 18
ITE Journal May 2018 - Technical Programs Division Spotlight
ITE Journal May 2018 - Industry News
ITE Journal May 2018 - 21
ITE Journal May 2018 - Where in the World?
ITE Journal May 2018 - 23
ITE Journal May 2018 - 24
ITE Journal May 2018 - 25
ITE Journal May 2018 - 26
ITE Journal May 2018 - Member to Member: Jing Zhang, AICP, PTP, LEED AP ND
ITE Journal May 2018 - 28
ITE Journal May 2018 - Countermeasures Prove Effective in Reducing Bicycle Collisions
ITE Journal May 2018 - 30
ITE Journal May 2018 - 31
ITE Journal May 2018 - 32
ITE Journal May 2018 - 33
ITE Journal May 2018 - 34
ITE Journal May 2018 - Guidance on Signal Control Strategies for Pedestrians to Improve Walkability
ITE Journal May 2018 - 36
ITE Journal May 2018 - 37
ITE Journal May 2018 - 38
ITE Journal May 2018 - 39
ITE Journal May 2018 - Factors Affecting Vehicle Passing Distance and Encroachments While Overtaking Cyclists
ITE Journal May 2018 - 41
ITE Journal May 2018 - 42
ITE Journal May 2018 - 43
ITE Journal May 2018 - 44
ITE Journal May 2018 - 45
ITE Journal May 2018 - Measuring the Success of Modal Shift: The Impact on Last Mile Connectivity
ITE Journal May 2018 - 47
ITE Journal May 2018 - 48
ITE Journal May 2018 - 49
ITE Journal May 2018 - Professional Services Directory
ITE Journal May 2018 - 51
ITE Journal May 2018 - 52
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