Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a tool to assess the positive and negative health impacts of projects and policies and the populations that will receive the impacts. The use of HIA is growing as the link between the built environment and health is becoming more recognized. New research is continually showing the link that how we build our communities matters to our health.
The American Public Health Association is hosting a webinar that explains HIA and gives great examples of how HIA is used in bicycle and pedestrian work. I have heard one of the presenters on the Clark County Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan in Clark County, Washington. A few highlights from their work in emphasizing health as part of the plan:
- Health is included as a goal of the plan. The goal specifically reads “Active Transportation Planning and Bicycle-and-Pedestrian-Supportive Land Uses.”
- The Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee will now review projects in the planning stage.
- Two types of project emphasized in the HIA are low-speed roadway designs which make is safe for bicyclist and pedestrian and improving bicycle and pedestrian routes to grocery stores.
- A huge success of the HIA was the change in project selection criteria. The criteria now include health and equity. Twenty points of the 100 points available are awarded based on socioeconomic status, walkability potential, street connectivity and low-stress facilities such as off-street trails.
For more information and to register for the webinar see this website.