The communities in which we live, work and attend school have a significant impact on our health.
Beyond air quality, consideration of health impacts have not traditionally been part of land use and transportation decisions, yet communities with a lack of active transportation options are linked to poor health outcomes. Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a process that brings together evidence to help decision makers understand how proposed projects, plans, or policies could impact residents' health.
The Healthy Works HIA project develops tools to integrate health impacts and analysis in regional land use and transportation planning.
HIA also offers recommendations to enhance the positive health benefits of proposed decisions, and to eliminate, reduce, or mitigate negative impacts of the proposed project.
For example, the Healthy Communities Atlas, completed by San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) in March of 2012, compiles, visualizes, and analyzes conditions related to health and wellness in the San Diego region. It consists of a series of evidence-based maps that largely focus on health determinants related to regional and local planning and decision making.
Tools such as the Healthy Communities Atlas and others developed as part of Healthy Works help inform decision-makers and the general public about potential health benefits or impacts of proposed transportation planning projects, policies, and programs. The Atlas is available here.
Previously, under Healthy Works, SANDAG selected the I-805 BRT/ 47th Street Trolley Station Area Plan to be analyzed as the regionís first HIA. Results from the HIA are being used to incorporate health considerations into decisions about the design of the Trolley Station. In addition to providing tools, training, and technical assistance to local jurisdictions on HIA, SANDAG and Healthy Works developed an internal tool that guides the agency on the use of HIA.
To find out more about HIA efforts currently taking place, visit the SANDAG Healthy Works project page.