Johns Hopkins University launches New Mobility Initiative

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Dr. Jeff Michael describes the initiative.
Dr. Jeff Michael describes the initiative.
Public health luminary Susan P. Baker joined the launch From left, Dr. Larry Naguhara, Associate Dean for Research at the Whiting School of Engineering, Susan P. Baker, Professor Emerita, Jeff Michael, Ellen MacKenzie, Dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Natalie Draisin, and Andrea Gielen, Injury Center Director.
Public health luminary Susan P. Baker joined the launch From left, Dr. Larry Naguhara, Associate Dean for Research at the Whiting School of Engineering, Susan P. Baker, Professor Emerita, Jeff Michael, Ellen MacKenzie, Dean of the Bloomberg School of Public Health, Natalie Draisin, and Andrea Gielen, Injury Center Director.
Injury Center Faculty join the Dean at the launch. From left: Colleen Barry, Shannon Frattaroli, Dean Ellen MacKenzie, Jeff  Michael, Andrea Gielen, Keshia Pollack Porter, Jonathon Ehsani.
Injury Center Faculty join the Dean at the launch. From left: Colleen Barry, Shannon Frattaroli, Dean Ellen MacKenzie, Jeff Michael, Andrea Gielen, Keshia Pollack Porter, Jonathon Ehsani.

With seed funding from the FIA Foundation, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has launched the New Mobility Initiative. It serves as the leading public health research authority, maximizing the social benefit of mobility innovations to save lives, reduce injuries, improve mobility and promote health equity. 

The public health expertise at Johns Hopkins University is leading the way in a new era of mobility, focusing on autonomous vehicles and the implementation of the safe systems approach to achieve equity. Its New Mobility Initiative operates at the state, city, and neighborhood level to decrease road traffic crashes and increase access to education, medical care, healthy food, and employment. 

Discussing how  autonomous vehicles can be used as a means to  improve quality of life for vulnerable populations, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Dean Ellen MacKenzie said, “It’s clear that self-driving cars are in our future, but so far we’ve focused a lot on the technology and not enough on their effects on our society.  The New Mobility Initiative is designed to change all that. Public health experts have decades of experience in saving lives by gathering evidence and developing policy recommendations to reduce motor vehicle injuries.  And the field’s deep commitment to social justice can ensure that the new technology benefits everyone.”

“In close collaboration with the Whiting School of Engineering, the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy is well-positioned to work with industry groups and policymakers to help inform decisions about how and where autonomous vehicles should be introduced.  Their work is shaping policies for testing and deployment that reach from the city level to the U.N.” she added.

The initiative includes a focus on youth, which are at the heart of the Child Health Initiative hosted by the FIA Foundation. The Child Health Initiative aims to ensure that all children have safe and healthy journeys to school by targeting leaders at the UN level. “Road traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for young people worldwide. What is standing between us and this epidemic is the urgent need for policy leadership. Public health is perfectly situated to provide it. Who else but the oldest, largest public health school in the country to be the source of that leadership?” said Dr. Jeff Michael. He was welcomed at the event as the Leon S. Robertson Faculty Development Chair in Injury Prevention. Past Leon Robertson Chairs include Dr. Adnan Hyder who has become a leading figure in Global Traffic Injury Control. Dr. Michael is serving as the Coordinator of the New Mobility Initiative, leading the development of evidence-based policy models to steer the deployment of New Mobility products and services for public health benefit. He has a former decades-long career at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, where he served as the Associate Administrator for Research and Program Development. 

“Urban mobility is changing quickly. The number of vulnerable road users is increasing. We need safe system solutions and are grateful for FIA Foundation support to guide implementation policy development,” said Dr. Michael. 

“This initiative is critical to ensuring the future of mobility is developed with an equity lens. The field of public health, and particularly the top ranked public health school for the past 25 years, is uniquely positioned to accomplish this goal,” said Natalie Draisin, FIA Foundation North American Director and UN Representative. “The FIA Foundation is honored to support this initiative,” she added. Other donors include Leon S. Robertson, PhD, and Nancy Robertson, Bob Abernethy, JHU Whiting School of Engineering, and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. 

More information and a recording of the launch event is available here.