Statewide Push to See SCAG Consider Health and Equity

Sign onto an important letter encouraging SCAG to analyze public health, equity in 2012 RTP

California Convergence (Day Two), a photo by heacphotos on FlickrContribute your signature by emailing Kim Gilhuly of Human Impact partners at or Jessica Meaney of Safe Routes to School California at

The deadline to sign is Thursday, May 5th

Review the petition letter below and sign on!

May 5, 2011

Hasan Ikhrata, Executive Director
Policy and Planning Technical Advisory Committee (PPTAC)
Southern California Association of Governments
818 W. Seventh Street, 12th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90017

Dear Mr. Ikhrata and the PPTAC:

SCAG recently proposed an initial set of performance metrics with which to analyze potential scenarios to be considered in the Regional Transportation Planning/ Sustainable Communities Strategies planning process. A statewide group of public health advocates has been developing a set of performance metrics for use in the RTP/SCS process. In the past, public health and equity have not been fully considered in land use and transportation planning and we hope to inform the discussion of performance metrics with a health perspective. Attached you will find our health and equity analysis of as well as recommendations for SCAG’s set of metrics. We thank SCAG and the PPTAC for your leadership and for considering the suggestions of public health and equity professionals and advocates in the development of performance measures.

Given the high levels of chronic disease, including obesity, diabetes, and asthma, that we are facing as a country and that we spend a higher percent of our GDP on healthcare than any other country, it is imperative that we address the root causes of disease. While access to healthcare and genetics are important factors that determine our health status, there is a growing recognition that land use and transportation systems impact our personal behaviors related to health and directly and indirectly impact our health status even more. As described in the attached analysis, transportation systems impact health in many ways, for example through impacts on injuries and fatalities, environmental quality (e.g., air quality and noise), physical activity, and income. These impacts are typically not distributed evenly across all populations, with lower income populations and communities of color often facing worse impacts for a variety of reasons. Understanding the causes of these differences is an important piece of addressing them. For this reason, we believe that equity (defined here to mean the absence of systematic disparities in health, or in the major social determinants of health, between groups with different levels of underlying social advantage/disadvantage) impacts be understood in addition to health impacts.

We recommend that SCAG could improve health and equity outcomes in its Sustainable Communities Strategy planning process by:

  1. Modifying SCAG’s proposed performance measures as described in the attached document.
  2. Including ongoing input from a health perspective in the SCS process by adding one or more public health representatives to SCAG’s Planning and Programs Technical Advisory Committee (PPTAC).
  3. Conducting a more comprehensive equity analysis about each of the proposed performance measures.
  4. Setting health- and equity-promoting targets for some of the metrics. Our coalition and/or a public health representative on the PPTAC can offer assistance with this.
  5. Developing a robust public participation process that centers around a range of potential scenarios. The alternative scenarios would range from a baseline scenario to one proposing ambitious targets, given Southern California’s status as having some of the dirtiest air in the nation. Including more people in the dialogue is one of the best ways to make sure all perspectives are heard and included.

We are looking forward to partnering with SCAG in whatever ways we can to help use transportation planning to beneficially impact the health of residents in Southern California, particularly those who are hardest hit with health disparities that, evidence shows, are due in part to land use and transportation.


American Lung Association of California
Move LA
Healthy Places Coalition
Human Impact Partners
Safe Routes to School National Partnership – California Network

One Response to Statewide Push to See SCAG Consider Health and Equity

  1. Pingback: Platform Announcement « Safe Routes to School in California

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