Proceedings of the 24th World International Traffic Medicine Association Congress, Qatar 2015
  • ISSN: 2223-0440
  • EISSN:


Traffic crashes are the obvious and tragic outcome of a complex process of which traffic, human factors, roadway engineering and surrounding environment are all contributing factors. Traffic operations, however, inflict more physical and psychological harm on human health, albeit, it is not immediately obvious as crashes. Some of those harms show symptoms over longer terms, possibly a lifetime. That, however, does not change the fact that such harms are serious infractions of public health and community wellbeing. Is there a case for traffic medicine to expand scope and involve coverage of other traffic harms? Literature and studies have now clearly demonstrated the strong direct and indirect influence of transport planning, design, and operations- including travel choices and traffic operations--on public health including traffic crashes. Beyond crashes, long term-health impacts of transport decisions and practices are now established facts. This talk will make the point that the scope of traffic safety need to move beyond the prevention (and management) of serious crashes and injuries to the promotion and adoption of transport policies and traffic operation measures that, in addition, preserve and promote public health and community wellbeing in a broader sense. It is argued that such policies and measures will, in the mid- to long-term and as a matter of necessity and logical connectedness, result in travel decisions—as in trip making and mode and route choices—and traffic operation measures—as provision of space and junction control—that, collectively, foster calmer and more equitable thus “healthier” traffic operations. The result is both short- and long-term public health improvements including reduced risks of serious crash injuries. A case study of health impacts of traffic congestion is presented. While reduction of serious crash is an urgent need the world around, the notion of traffic polices and operations as a tool to promote public health is not as obvious nor has it been part of the domain of traffic/transportation engineering or planning. The case is made that traffic operations impact public health and community wellbeing well beyond crashes, and that the professions of traffic/transport and public health collaboratively must adopt a more holistic approach to traffic safety and health: one that goes beyond immediate concerns with serious traffic crashes to one that promotes long-term healthy living of which managing serious crashes is only a part. Towards this end, changes in policies, culture, education, planning, engineering, and systems operations will be necessary, as is a systems approach.


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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