New Study Links Exercise and Mobility In The Elderly

OldCoupleWalkingAccording to a May 29th Public Health Newswire article, a large clinical trial conducted partly at Tufts University now provides strong proof for the claim that regular exercise can be an elixir of youth. The study found that elderly people who walked and did basic strengthening exercises on a daily basis were less likely to become physically disabled, compared to those who did not exercise regularly.

For the study, Effect of Structured Physical Activity on Prevention of Major Mobility Disability in Older Adults, published in late May 2014 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers recruited sedentary people aged 70 to 89 years who had trouble walking more than a quarter-mile. Half of them were randomly assigned to participate in a daily exercise program, and after nearly three years, they had an 18 percent lower risk of losing their walking abilities compared with the others, who were instructed to take health education classes.”

Non-Motorized Transportation Pilot Program Report (May 2014)

In 2005 the United States Congress directed the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to develop the Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP). The program provided more than $25 million in contract authority to four pilot communities and counties: Columbia, Missouri; Marin County, California; the Minneapolis, Minnesota area, and Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. Funds were directed to be used for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure and non-motorized facility programs.

Initial results appear promising: From 2007 to 2013, the pilot communities observed an estimated 22.8 percent increase in the number of walking trips and an estimated 48.3 percent increase in the number of bicycling trips.

In May 2014 a status report was issued on the NTPP: Nonmotorized Transportation Pilot Program: Continued Progress in Developing Walking and Bicycling Networks. )  The report summarizes the progress and results of the NTPP from August 2005 through December 2013, and examines how the NTPP pilot communities provide examples to other communities interested in implementing and evaluating nonmotorized investments.

This report analyzes the results through December 2013 of the NTPP in terms of program implementation, transportation mode shift toward walking and bicycling and associated improvements pertaining to access and mobility, safety and public health, and the environment and energy.

Visit this page for more about the Non-motorized Transportation Pilot Program (NTPP).

The “Missing Link” Found In Tennessee

Construction of FOOT - Missing Link Bridge 2 with Gantry CraneEvolutionists often speak of “The Missing Link” as the link between humans and their ape-like ancestors. But there’s another “missing link:” a section of the 72-mile-long Foothills Parkway in Tennessee that was first commissioned by Congress in 1944.

The section in question is a 9.7-mile portion of the route comprised of a series of ten bridges cutting through some of the steepest terrain found along the entire Parkway.

Jeff Zagoudis, associate editor of Roads&Bridges magazine, has produced a short description of the “Missing Link,” detailing several of the challenges faced by the engineers and construction teams working on the project.

Download Roads&Bridges_Foothills_Parkway article

Alliance Releases Its 2014 Bike/Ped Benchmark Report

According to an April 16th email from Mary Lauran Hall of the Alliance for Biking and Walking, “How does your state stack up on bicycling and walking? Today, we are releasing Bicycling and Walking in the United States: 2014 Benchmarking Report, a massive compendium of data on bicycling and walking in all 50 states, the 52 largest U.S. cities, and a select number of midsized cities.

“The Alliance produces the Benchmarking Report every two years in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Community Design Initiative. The report comprehensively examines bicycling and walking transportation across the U.S. and how these trends relate to public health, safety, and social and economic well being…

“For a sneak peek, check out four of the most fascinating facts from the report below.

1. We’re seeing small but steady increases in the number of people biking and walking to work…

2. There are lower bicyclist and pedestrian fatalities where there are more people are biking and walking…

3. More people tend to bike or walk to work when a city has strong biking and walking advocacy…

4. A large percentage of commuters bike and walk to work in Alaska, Oregon, Montana, New York, and Vermont… [Note: All are in Snow Country!]

Download the 2014 Bike/Ped Benchmark Report.

Safe Routes to Everywhere Platform—Partnership for Active Transportation

The Partnership for Active Transportation is a national network of nonprofit, for-profit and public-sector entities working together to build healthy places for healthy people by advancing active transportation networks. The organization describes itself as a national voice for trails, walking and biking—or active transportation—that reflects this diversity of affected interests.

The partnership has launched a campaign to drive changes in federal policy that encourage investments in active transportation as critical elements of our nation’s transportation system.

A recent press release from the group stated: “Trails, walking and biking help to advance many societal goals such as mobility, economic development, health, livable communities and equity. We invite you to join us.”

Organizations can sign on to endorse Safe Routes to Everywhere, the federal policy platform from the Partnership for Active Transportation.  The lead organizations responsible for developing the platform were Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, APHA, LOCUS (a division of Smart Growth America representing real estate developers), the American Academy of Pediatrics, and America Walks.

Download the Safe Routes to Everywhere platform.