According to the CDC, motor vehicle-related injuries are the leading cause of death in the US for ages 5-34. Worldwide, road traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for ages 15-29. While both statistics are serious, it’s clear that, in the US, a greater range of the population is in danger of death from motor vehicles.
I write a lot about car-centric places being bad for reasons related to efficient, careful land use and for the relationship we have to our built environment and to each other.
But It’s important to take a regular break from those concerns and think about the impact that our car-centric places have on our health in the US. For a look at the other health problems (apart from fatal injuries) caused by cars, see this interview with former CDC director, Richard Jackson.Atlanta traffic photo from Flickr user spartan_puma

According to the CDC, motor vehicle-related injuries are the leading cause of death in the US for ages 5-34. Worldwide, road traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for ages 15-29. While both statistics are serious, it’s clear that, in the US, a greater range of the population is in danger of death from motor vehicles.

I write a lot about car-centric places being bad for reasons related to efficient, careful land use and for the relationship we have to our built environment and to each other.

But It’s important to take a regular break from those concerns and think about the impact that our car-centric places have on our health in the US. For a look at the other health problems (apart from fatal injuries) caused by cars, see this interview with former CDC director, Richard Jackson.

Atlanta traffic photo from Flickr user spartan_puma

"Per-capita vehicle miles of travel dropped again in 2013, making it the ninth consecutive year of decline…This recent downward shift has had no clear, lasting connection to economic trends or gas prices. Evidence suggests that the decline is likely due to changing demographics, saturated highways, and a rising preference for compact, mixed-use neighborhoods."

Per capita VMT drops for ninth straight year; DOTs taking notice | SSTI.us, 2/24/2014

"If we really want to prevent future crises, it’s not going to be a matter of shutting down every time there’s a scary weather forecast, but investing in longer-term solutions to our sprawl."

How Atlanta Survived Icepocalypse II
We’re not a national joke anymore. But our city’s still a sprawling mess.
| Politico, 2/14/2014

"Driving, which has been on more or less an upward slope since the end of World War II, has dropped from the peaks of last decade…Media coverage of America’s transportation story, though, seems oddly stuck in the last century."

The love affair is over:
America’s relationship with the automobile is changing. The transportation beat has to catch up
| Columbia Journalism Review, 11/2013

Metro Atlanta’s cul-de-sacs are bad for your health

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Things I learned from reading Why Cul-de-Sacs Are Bad for Your Health on Slate.com:

  • The average working adult in Atlanta’s suburbs now drives 44 miles a day. (That’s 72 minutes a day behind the wheel, just getting to work and back.)
  • 94% of Metro Atlantans commute by car.
  • Metro Atlantans spend more on gas than anyone else in the country.
  • Georgia Tech researchers found that a white male living in walkable Midtown Atlanta was likely to weigh 10 pounds less than his identical twin living in a car-dependent place like Mableton.

Also found in that Tech study on Metro Atlantans:

Six out of every 10…couldn’t walk to nearby shops and services or to a public bus stop. Road geometry was partly to blame…that iconic suburban innovation — the cul-de-sac — has become part of a backfiring behavioral system.

Basically, building roads entirely for cars — with cul-de-sac subdivisions being the height of car-dependency — makes for unhealthy people, not to mention unhealthy urban places. Unfortunately, Metro Atlanta has bought into that style of road building big time.

Progress is happening, with better urban design popping up in pockets all over, but the battle is very much an uphill one.

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Douglas County subdivisions photo by Flickr user Alan Cressler; Atlanta traffic photo by Flickr user Mad Duckets

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(Source: alexinsd)

(Source: thisbigcity)