Transportation Policy & Planning Work Group
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The PAPREN Transportation Work Group is a platform for community and collaboration among researchers and practitioners interested in research, evaluation and translation to practice at the intersection of health and transportation. Our unique approach emphasizes chronic disease prevention through active transportation, evaluation, and logistical support for projects. The Transportation Work Group will conduct rapid small-scale research and evaluation projects on topics such as impact of transportation system factors like funding, operations, decision making and infrastructure characteristics on physical activity behavior and health outcomes.


Angie Cradock, ScD, MPE
Angie Cradock, ScD, MPE
Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity
Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
Karin Valentine Goins, MPH
Karin Valentine Goins, MPH
UMass Worcester Prevention Research Center
University of Massachusetts Medical School
Matthew Dean
Matthew Dean
Department of Civil, Architectural & Environmental Engineering
University of Texas at Austin

Presentation – September 14

Building a Recipe for Walkability in a Growing Suburban City

Presenter: Ben Kern, MAS

In 1980, the City of Alpharetta was a small agrarian community of 3,000 people just north of Atlanta.  Today, it is an employment hub with a daytime population of greater than 100,000.  In the midst of the explosive growth in recent decades, city leadership has realized that walkability and active mobility are two of the most desired and important characteristics that local government can and should influence.   Downtown Design Guidelines, Impact Fees, Zoning conditions, Special Local Option Sales Tax, Educational Partnerships and Federal Transportation Grant funding are all ingredients being used by the City of Alpharetta to set a physical infrastructure that will lead to decades of healthy options for its citizenry.

Ben has always been fascinated by cities – their constant evolving complexity and the various elements that make certain places vibrant.  This naturally led into a career in city planning and a discovery of the many levers at work that can influence the places that we all live and work and move through.

Ben believes that health, much like cities, is wrapped up in a multitude of various influences which are constantly evolving.  Because we can never be disconnected from the larger natural and built environments that shape us and influence our health at scale, why not do everything we can to work towards environments conducive to subconsciously healthy decisions?

Ben received his undergrad degree from Appalachian State University.  In 2020, he received a Master’s Degree in Spatial Analysis for Public Health from John’s Hopkins.  He is passionate about striking the balance between the world of public health knowledge and the practicalities of local government decision-making.

Meeting Time

2nd Tuesdays 1-2 ET / 12-1 CT / 11-12 MT / 10-11 PT

For meeting access information, contact Matt Dean (

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