Public Health and Safety

Public Health and Safety

The presence of art in the transit corridors can diminish vandalism, crime, aggression, social isolation, and transportation-related stress. As art increases ridership of public transportation, it can lead to multiple public health benefits, including promoting physical activity and improving air quality.

ART ACTIVATES THE SPACE AND IMPROVES SAFETY
Enhancing an otherwise utilitarian transit station with high-quality artwork elevates the space, and sends a message that the physical space and the people served by the station are highly valued.1 The effect is both welcoming and comforting to riders, who in turn respond with greater respect for the transit environment and their fellow passengers, and improved feelings toward the service provider.2

The presence of art in a transit station is shown to reduce crime and vandalism, and increase safety of the environment.3 Artwork can make riders feel more secure by assisting them in navigating confusing, often unfamiliar subterranean territory.4 People can perceive a station as dangerous because of poor general appearance, low lighting levels, or lack of maintenance.5 Art can be an effective way to break the “cycle of fear” and attract new riders. An increase in ridership means there is more surveillance from other passengers and a reduction in both fear and actual crime risk.6

ART IMPROVES EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING
The healthcare field widely recognizes that art reduces stress and anxiety and has a positive impact on health and emotional well-being.7 8 9 10 In hospitals, for example, the presence of artwork has been shown to improve patient care, reduce pain, lessen the stress of Emergency Room waiting areas, decrease requests for pain medicine, and control aggressive behavior.11 The presence of art in the transit environment can reduce the stress of travel and make waiting areas more pleasant, engaging, and inspiring. Furthermore, increased neighborhood walkability—which results from accessible and attractive public transportation—is associated with reduced symptoms of depression.12

INCREASED RIDERSHIP IMPROVES PUBLIC HEALTH
Engaging with art in the transit corridor has multiple public health benefits, including reducing stress and social isolation, instilling a sense of pride and belonging among citizens, and improving understanding among diverse populations; furthermore, by increasing ridership, art promotes physical activity.13 14 15 16 17

Choosing mass transit makes people more active.18 19 Individuals who use public transportation get over three times the amount of physical activity per day as those who don’t.20 21 Inadequate physical activity contributes to numerous health problems, causing an estimated 200,000 annual deaths in the U.S. and significantly increasing medical costs.22 Many experts believe that increasing walking is the most practical way to improve public fitness.23 Wener and Evans (2007) found that train commuters, as compared to car commuters, averaged 30% more walking, more frequently reported walking for 10 minutes or more, and were 4 times more likely to achieve the 10,000 daily steps recommended for fitness and health.24

Art enhancements of public transit can lead to long-term public health benefits: as more travelers choose mass transit over cars, air quality will improve, making the area healthier and safer for all living things. Illness related to poor air quality is estimated to cause as many deaths per year as traffic accidents.25 Fewer cars and more people also lead to safer sidewalks and crossways for pedestrians and bicyclists. Transit-oriented communities have only about a quarter the per capita traffic fatality rate as residents of automobile-dependent communities.26

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Citations

1 American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Recommended Practice: Best Practices for Integrating Art into Capital Projects. APTA Standards Development Program, APTA SUDS-UD-RP-007-13. Published June 28, 2013. http://www.apta.com/resources/hottopics/sustainability/Documents/APTA%20SUDS-UD-RP-007-13%20Integrating%20Art%20into%20Capital%20Projects.pdf

2 American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Recommended Practice: Best Practices for Integrating Art into Capital Projects. APTA Standards Development Program, APTA SUDS-UD-RP-007-13. Published June 28, 2013. http://www.apta.com/resources/hottopics/sustainability/Documents/APTA%20SUDS-UD-RP-007-13%20Integrating%20Art%20into%20Capital%20Projects.pdf

3 American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Recommended Practice: Best Practices for Integrating Art into Capital Projects. APTA Standards Development Program, APTA SUDS-UD-RP-007-13. Published June 28, 2013. http://www.apta.com/resources/hottopics/sustainability/Documents/APTA%20SUDS-UD-RP-007-13%20Integrating%20Art%20into%20Capital%20Projects.pdf

4 American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Recommended Practice: Best Practices for Integrating Art into Capital Projects. APTA Standards Development Program, APTA SUDS-UD-RP-007-13. Published June 28, 2013. http://www.apta.com/resources/hottopics/sustainability/Documents/APTA%20SUDS-UD-RP-007-13%20Integrating%20Art%20into%20Capital%20Projects.pdf

5 American Public Transportation Commission. Why Design Matters. 2011.

6 Smith, Martha J. and Ronald V. Clarke. Crime and Public Transport. Crime and Justice. Vol. 27 (2000) pp. 169-233. The University of Chicago Press.

7 Ford, Alyssa. Proving the Healthful Benefits of Art. Public Art Review. February 26, 2014. http://forecastpublicart.org/public-art-review/2014/02/healthful-research/

8 Landro, Laura. More Hospitals Use the Healing Powers of Public Art. The Wall Street Journal, August 18, 2014. http://online.wsj.com/articles/more-hospitals-use-the-healing-powers-of-public-art-1408404629

9 Binnie, Jennifer. Does Viewing Art in the Museum Reduce Anxiety and Improve Wellbeing? Museums & Social Issues 5, no. 2 (2010): 198.

10 Clow, Angela and Cathrine Fredhoi. Normalization of salivary cortisol levels and self-report stress by a brief lunchtime visit to an art gallery by London City workers. Journal of Holistic Healthcare, 3 (2) (2006): 29-32

11 Ford, Alyssa. Proving the Healthful Benefits of Art. Public Art Review. February 26, 2014. http://forecastpublicart.org/public-art-review/2014/02/healthful-research/

12 Litman, T. Evaluating Public Transportation Health Benefits. Victoria Transport Policy Institute, for the American Public Transportation Association. June 2010. http://www.apta.com/resources/reportsandpublications/Documents/APTA_Health_Benefits_Litman.pdf

13 UITP (International Association of Public Transport) Design and Culture Group. Fact Sheet: Art on Transport. March 2003.

14 U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. Benefits of Livability. http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/livability/fact_sheets/benefits.pdf

15 Village Well. Train Stations as Places for Community Wellbeing. Published by Village Well (Victoria, Australia). July 2006. http://www.vichealth.vic.gov.au/~/media/ProgramsandProjects/PlanningHealthyEnvironments/Attachments/Train_Stations_Community_Wellbeing2.ashx

16 Badger, Emily. Researchers put two Spanish-speakers on a train and changed commuters’ views of immigration. The Washington Post’s Wonkblog. August 8, 2014. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/08/08/researchers-put-two-spanish-speakers-on-a-train-and-changed-commuters-views-of-immigration/

17 American Public Transportation Association (APTA). Media Center: Public Transportation Benefits. http://www.apta.com/mediacenter/ptbenefits/Pages/default.aspx

18 U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Transit Administration. Alternative Transportation and Your Health. http://www.fta.dot.gov/14504.htm

19 Litman, T. Evaluating Public Transportation Health Benefits. Victoria Transport Policy Institute, for the American Public Transportation Association. June 2010. http://www.apta.com/resources/reportsandpublications/Documents/APTA_Health_Benefits_Litman.pdf

20 http://transloc.com/6-health-benefits-of-public-transportation/

21 Litman, T. Evaluating Public Transportation Health Benefits. Victoria Transport Policy Institute, for the American Public Transportation Association. June 2010. http://www.apta.com/resources/reportsandpublications/Documents/APTA_Health_Benefits_Litman.pdf

22 Litman, T. Evaluating Public Transportation Health Benefits. Victoria Transport Policy Institute, for the American Public Transportation Association. June 2010. http://www.apta.com/resources/reportsandpublications/Documents/APTA_Health_Benefits_Litman.pdf

23 Litman, T. Evaluating Public Transportation Health Benefits. Victoria Transport Policy Institute, for the American Public Transportation Association. June 2010. http://www.apta.com/resources/reportsandpublications/Documents/APTA_Health_Benefits_Litman.pdf

24 http://www.apta.com/resources/reportsandpublications/Documents/APTA_Health_Benefits_Litman.pdf

25 Litman, T. Evaluating Public Transportation Health Benefits. Victoria Transport Policy Institute, for the American Public Transportation Association. June 2010.

26 http://www.apta.com/resources/reportsandpublications/Documents/APTA_Health_Benefits_Litman.pdf