Transport Medicine Foundation
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About Us


Mission Statement


The Transport Medicine Foundation seeks to engage with government and industry in order to avert transport accidents caused by human factors and preventable medical conditions, and assure effective responses when such incidents do occur. 


The Foundation pursues this mission through the production of members’ research and reports led by medical, legal and industry experts. These reports consider various aspects of accident causation, prevention and response, produced with the aim of furthering knowledge and stimulating debate in these areas. The Foundation seeks to promote education and research in the field of transport medicine, and to facilitate the closer engagement of all parties involved in producing effective policies aimed at improving safety across all forms of transport.


Our Vision


The Transport Medicine Foundation has established a number of stages by which it aims to develop in the coming years:

1)   To inaugurate itself as a Web-based community of interested members, sharing knowledge and co-operating in the production of strategy and reports.

2)   To establish a charity based in Hong Kong, which will seek to promote education and research and engage all parties in the  drafting of good practice advice and necessary legislation.

3)   To expand internationally, bringing in new members and establishing links with government and industry overseas, to continue  the pursuit of the Foundation’s overall aims.


The Aerospace Medicine Group


The Transport Medicine Foundation seeks to build on the achievements of the Aerospace Medicine Group of the Faculty of Medicine, Chinese University of Hong Kong. Formed in 2005, this group has succeeded in producing a well-regarded body of original research papers in the field of aerospace medicine. The TMF seeks to extend the same combination of innovation and expertise to other fields of transport medicine. 

For a collection of articles and abstracts produced by the Aerospace Medicine Group, please email us at


What is Transport Medicine?


Transport Medicine deals with all aspects of the interaction between humans and vehicles from the design stage to operational use. Learning from failures and accidents is crucial to improving design in transport systems.


The medical and psychological fitness of an operator to drive or pilot a public transport vehicle is a fundamental pre-requisite for safety. This aspect is a cornerstone of Transport Medicine, but the specialty also studies closely the effects of different transport environments on human occupants. Transport modes undreamt of a century ago are becoming available to ordinary citizens – the high altitude rail line from China to Tibet and the imminent prospect of commercial passenger travel into Space being just two examples. Despite the potential extreme threats to wellbeing, an increased range of passengers, irrespective of their state of health, will be able to use these services.


Less obviously, ordinary scheduled commercial air travel has important effects on human physiology, and passengers with health problems require careful assessment. The safe transport of sick and injured patients to and between hospitals forms a further important aspect of Transportation Medicine.


The Scope of Transport Medicine


  Transport Medicine encompasses the following areas of study:

  • Health Assessment and Certification of Crew
    • The assessment of the fitness of air pilots, vehicle drivers and ships’ masters, and their official medical certification
    • The health and fitness of other safety-critical staff (e.g. Air Traffic Controllers) operationally involved in transportation.
  • Health of Crew and Passengers
    • Crew and Passenger Fatigue
    • The effects of the Environment on Crew and Passengers
    • The health impact of Cosmic Radiation and UV light
    • Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • Transport Accidents
    • Human Factors in Transport
    • Transport Accident Investigation
    • The medical management of Major Incidents and Disasters
  • Transportation of Patients
    • Ambulance Transport, including Land, Sea and Air
    • Inter-hospital Transfer of Patients
    • Search and Rescue Operations
  • Crime and Terrorism
    • The medical and psychological effects of Crime and Terrorism in Transportation (including post-traumatic stress)
  • Drugs and Alcohol
    • Drug and Alcohol legislation and the design, monitoring and enforcement of preventative programmes in transport
  • Crew Resource Management
    • Crew Resource Management (the training of safety-sensitive operating staff in mitigating the causes and effects of human error)




Transport Medicine and Hong Kong


A safe and efficient transport system is key to Hong Kong’s role as an international travel and trade hub, and strong public confidence in these aspects is crucial. Compared with other territories, Hong Kong has maintained a good but not flawless record of transport safety. Fortunately, past disasters have generally resulted in limited loss of life and injury, but there is no room for complacency as the roads, airways, seaways and railways become busier. Among the challenges on the ground will be the ever-increasing volume of cross-border lorry, car and bus traffic, and the plans for a new bridged road link to Zhuhai and Macau will create new issues for the Emergency Services. Similarly, the aviation industry is expanding rapidly, placing stress on existing infrastructure. Bad weather over the 2008 Chinese New Year has shown the human impact of vulnerable rail links to mainland China, and Hong Kong continues to compete fiercely for its share of an expanding marine cargo market and tourist industry.


Public perception of transport safety remains positive but fragile. When asked, most Hong Kong people will readily recall the China Airlines accident of 1999, the Tuen Mun Road bus crash of 2003, and the grounding of the Mui Wo ferry Xin Jie in 2006. Crucially, Human Factors, including medical incapacitation in the last case, were represented as the primary cause of each of these accidents.



Content © Transport Medicine Foundation 2010. All rights reserved. 

Unless stated, all images © Simon Cocks. All rights reserved.