Oregon Health Authority
This website is archived for historical purposes and is no longer being maintained or updated.
The Healthy Community Design Initiative, also known as the Built Environment and Health Initiative, is no longer a funded program and the information on this website is not being reviewed and updated on a regular basis.
The mission of the Oregon Health Authority’s HIA Program is to reduce health disparities and to reduce or prevent injuries, illnesses, and deaths by considering health in relevant projects, policies, and plans.The program plan focuses on the three activities that have been most successful in increasing use of the HIA process:
- Building partnerships to consider health in all jurisdictions
- Developing staff knowledge and skills to complete HIAs in communities through targeted training and technical support
- Developing tools necessary to successfully complete HIA projects
2014–2016 HIA Accomplishments
Eugene/Springfield Metropolitan Region: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions
This HIA compared the health effects of various strategies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from cars and small trucks by 21% by 2035 in the Lane County Eugene/Springfield metropolitan area. The Oregon Legislature has established greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals relating to transportation. The Central Lane Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), serving the Eugene-Springfield area, worked with the Lane Council of Governments (LCG) and local partners to develop a plan to reduce emissions and submit a report to the Oregon Legislature by 2015. For the report, Lane County Public Health and LCG conducted an HIA to show how the proposed GHG-reduction policies and investments might affect current health conditions in the Eugene/Springfield metro area. The HIA found that the MPO’s proposed actions on land use and transportation would result in more physical activity, less exposure to air pollutants, and fewer traffic injuries. Data from the HIA analysis was included in the MPO’s report to the Oregon Legislature. The findings and recommendations were also presented to the City of Eugene for consideration in their city-level climate mitigation planning effort.
Klamath County Tobacco Retail License
This HIA assessed the potential health impacts, especially among youth, of a proposed city ordinance in Klamath Falls that would require all tobacco retailers to have a tobacco retail license. Klamath County has high rates of youth tobacco use. According to a survey of 11th graders at a local high school, 17% reported using cigarettes, 15% reported other tobacco use, and 37% reported using hookahs during the past 30 days. This HIA provided useful information on key drivers of tobacco use among youth, particularly those related to the retail environment, and highlighted the potential for a tobacco retail license to reduce tobacco use among youth in Klamath Falls.
The OHA HIA Program tested a new model for rapid HIAs during the 2015–2016 funding year that uses a full-day HIA training and workshop to build local-level capacity for HIA and to gather stakeholder input for a specific HIA project. In the HIA-in-a-Day model, the selected local health department screens for a project, engages stakeholders, and hosts the training. Staff from the OHA HIA Program lead the training, gather input about potential health impacts and recommendations, and draft the HIA report. The local health department then reviews and revises the report, disseminates the findings and recommendations, and works with OHA HIA Program staff to evaluate the project. Two HIA-in-a-Day projects occurred during 2015–2016.
- Prineville Hwy 26 Streetscape Improvement Project (Crook County): The goal of this HIA-in-a-Day project was to inform planning decisions of a streetscape improvement project for Hwy 26 in downtown Prineville. The HIA workshop was attended by local stakeholders and staff from Crook County Public Health Department and City of Prineville’s Planning Department. Workshop participants examined the potential impacts of five project components on three health factors (i.e., crash safety, opportunities for physical activity, and access to resources). The HIA report recommended that the project design include four of the five components: wayfinding/signage designed for motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists; sidewalk lighting; shade trees; and decorative paving materials selected with input from people with access and functional needs. Oregon Department of Transportation and Prineville Planning Department used the HIA findings to guide decisions about what features to include the final streetscape improvement plan.
- Clatsop County Multi-Use Paved Path: The goal of this HIA-in-a-Day project was to inform planning decisions of a proposed multi-use paved path running north-south along the Oregon coast in Clatsop County. The HIA workshop was attended by local public health, transportation, and planning professionals as well as other stakeholders. Participants identified key health issues associated with multi-use paths, compared the possible health impacts of three different path alignment options, and developed preliminary recommendations for the path design that would enhance potential positive health impacts and mitigate potential negative health impacts. In the final HIA report, OHA HIA Program staff incorporated findings from scientific studies and used OHA’s Transportation Options Health Impact Estimator modelling tool to quantify the potential health and economic benefits related to increased physical activity among county residents using the path.
Rainier Veterans Way and U.S. Highway 30 Crossing
This HIA examined the health and safety benefits of adding a stoplight and signaled crosswalk to provide pedestrians and bicyclists safer access across Highway 30 at the intersection with Veterans Way in the City of Rainier. Highway 30 runs parallel to the Columbia River and is a well-traveled roadway with significant commuting, freight, and tourism-related traffic. The intersection of Highway 30 and Veterans Way is a primary access point for the Rainier Riverfront Park. The HIA findings are being used by Region 2’s Area Committee on Transportation to guide future planning decisions. The Rainier City Council included the HIA findings in a funding request to the Oregon Department of Transportation for the installation of traffic lights at the intersection. The City of Rainier dedicated city funds to install speed radar signs near the intersection to help slow traffic, which was one of the HIA recommendations.
Washington County Transportation Futures Study
Washington County Department of Land Use and Transportation is conducting a long-term Transportation Futures Study (TFS) to guide future county-wide transportation system planning that will sustain economic vitality and quality of life. Washington County Public Health received funding from OHA to conduct a rapid HIA of the positive and negative health impacts of the TFS options under consideration by the TFS team. The HIA assessment included a thorough literature review of potential physical activity, crash safety, and air quality impacts. In addition, OHA HIA Program staff ran Oregon’s version of the Integrated Transport and Health Impact Model (ITHIM) to estimate the health and economic costs of the different TFS scenarios. The HIA findings were incorporated into the larger TFS report that was released for public comment in late 2016. It is not yet known how the HIA data and recommendations will be incorporated into the final TFS reports.
2011–2014 HIA Accomplishments
Benton County Roundabout
This HIA, completed by the Benton County Health Department, identified the possible health impacts of installing a roundabout instead of a traditional traffic signal at the intersection of 53rd Street and West Hills Road outside of Corvallis, Oregon. The intersection is traveled by approximately 10,000 vehicles per day and there were 38 recorded crashes at the intersection during 1985–2010 resulting in 1 fatality and 33 injuries. Installation of a roundabout has been a topic of debate among Benton County planners, residents, and elected officials in recent years. Benton County Health Department considered the health and safety impacts of different policy options on motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists as well as on vulnerable populations, such as visually-impaired persons. The HIA recommended a single-lane roundabout as the safest at-grade intersection option. The city adopted this recommendation and the roundabout was constructed from May to August 2015 for approximately $750,000. Since the roundabout was completed, the average vehicle delay during peak flows was reduced and there have been no severe accidents at the intersection. In November 2016, the Benton County Public Works department received a project of the year award from the Oregon Chapter of the American Public Works Association for this innovative roundabout project.
Clackamas County Road Safety Audit
The Oregon Public Health Institute partnered with the Clackamas County Public Health Division and Department of Transportation and Development to conduct an HIA on the Active Transportation Road Safety Audit (RSA) of intersections along a half-mile section of McLoughlin Boulevard. Transportation planners and engineers use RSAs to identify and mitigate factors associated with crash risk. The McLoughlin Boulevard Active Transportation RSA proposed 42 engineering projects for reducing crash risk to pedestrians and bicyclists. This HIA further examined the RSA traffic safety recommendations and found that most had positive additional health impacts on opportunities for physical activity, exposure to air and noise pollution, and access to jobs and schools. The HIA provided a broader context to the RSA and the HIA findings were used to guide decisions about project selection and prioritization along this corridor. The HIA also provided a template for a joint Health Impact Assessment-Road Safety Audit (HIA-RSA) process for use at other intersections/corridors in the county or around the state. Read more about this HIA here.
Climate Smart Community Scenarios
This HIA examined the relative health impacts of six possible policy packages Metro (the Portland regional government and metropolitan planning organization (MPO)) developed to meet state-mandated greenhouse gas reduction targets. The HIA provided recommendations to Metro and other stakeholders on the best course of action for improving public health and achieving health equity in transportation and land use decisions related to greenhouse gas reduction policy. This was the first of three HIAs led by OHA to support Metro’s efforts to develop and adopt a final Climate Smart Community strategy for the Portland metropolitan region. The Metro Technical Advisory Group used the HIA findings to develop an evaluation checklist for selecting their final three scenarios for consideration. OHA used this HIA as a model for similar efforts in other Oregon metropolitan areas working on developing regional land use and transportation plans for mitigating and adapting to climate change. Read about this HIA here.
Climate Smart Strategy
This HIA was the final of three that OHA conducted to support Metro in developing a regional greenhouse gas reduction strategy focused on reducing vehicle miles traveled by gasoline-powered, light-duty vehicles. The HIA examined the final preferred Climate Smart Strategy that emerged from the first two phases of Metro’s analyses, which included findings from the previous HIAs. OHA used the Integrated Transport and Health Impact Model (ITHIM) to estimate the annual health and economic impacts of the final strategy based on changes to physical activity, traffic collisions, and air quality in the region. The model estimated that implementing the final strategy would prevent 126 deaths and reduce related illnesses by 1.6% in 2035 compared to 2010, accounting for population growth. The HIA findings helped Metro and its partners adopt the strategy for the region and develop an action plan and tool kit for implementing the new policy framework.
Curry County Housing Stock Upgrade Initiative
This HIA gathered information on the possible health effects of a proposed pilot project addressing old, substandard manufactured housing that did not qualify for repair or replacement aid. The Housing Stock Upgrade Initiative proposed using Oregon housing funding to provide lower-cost loans or funds to make repairing or replacing a manufactured home more affordable for the 6,000 Curry County residents who lived in them. Results of the HIA showed that replacing older manufactured homes through this upgrade initiative could improve indoor air quality and structural integrity, accommodate aging residents, and benefit residents’ overall physical and mental health. As a result of the HIA, almost 3,000 residents of Curry County may be eligible for financial assistance to replace their current manufactured home and with a new unit. In addition, members of the Oregon Manufactured Housing Association voluntarily decided to create and adopt new design standards to meet customer health needs and ADA requirements. Specifically, members agreed to standardize 36” hallways and doorways and include bathroom grab bars as a standard, no-cost option for all units by 2015. Read more about this HIA here.
Lane County Affordable Housing Strategic Plan
Lane County Public Health (LCPH) partnered with Eugene’s Planning and Development Department (PDD) and the Oregon Public Health Institute (OPHI) to assess the direct and indirect impacts of the Affordable Housing Strategic Plan on the health of children and youth (age 0-17). The housing plan was one of two strategic plans included in the Eugene-Springfield 2010 Consolidated Plan. The HIA provided health impact information to guide the Eugene-Springfield 2015 Consolidated Plan; as a result, public health professionals are now serving on two committees for the 2015 Consolidated Plan update.
Traffic Speed on South Third St. (Hwy 99W), South Corvallis
This HIA, conducted by Benton County Health Services, examined the potential health and safety impacts of lowering the speed limit from 35 to 25 mph on a one-mile stretch of S. Third Street (Hwy 99W) in south Corvallis. The City of Corvallis requested that Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT), who sets speed limits for state-operated roads, conduct a speed study of this segment of Hwy 99W. The goal of the HIA was to provide complementary information on the impact of traffic speed on health outcomes and health equity (e.g., active transportation, traffic safety, social networks, and access to goods and services) that are not currently factored into the ODOT process for determining speed limits. Based on community input and analysis of these additional health and safety factors, the HIA recommended lowering the speed limit to 25 miles per hour and improving road and sidewalk conditions. After completing the speed study, ODOT decided to leave the speed limit on Hwy 99W through south Corvallis unchanged. Even though the HIA did not result in lowering the speed limit, the process provided Benton County Health Services the opportunity to build HIA capacity among new public health workers, strengthen existing relationships, and develop new relationships with local and state agencies.
Washington County Augusta Lane Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge
Washington County Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Division, partnered with Washington County Department of Land Use & Transportation to conduct a rapid HIA to identify the potential health impacts of constructing a bicycle and pedestrian bridge in Aloha-Reedville, an unincorporated area of Washington County. County planners who were part of the HIA community meetings revised their bridge design sightlines after hearing safety concerns from community members.
Washington County Bicycle and Pedestrian Facility
This HIA identified the possible health impacts of proposed updates to the active (bicycle and pedestrian) transportation policies in the Washington County Transportation System Plan. The HIA assessed and recommended strategies for prioritizing bicycle and pedestrian improvements. As a result of the HIA, additional health considerations were incorporated into Washington County’s Transportation System Plan update. The HIA also influenced the creation of the Washington County Bicycle Facility Design Toolkit.
Tools and Resources for HIA Practitioners
The Oregon HIA Program developed
- An Oregon version of the Environmental Public Health Tracking Program HIA toolkit
- An Oregon version of the Integrated Transport and Health Impact Model (ITHIM) designed for state, regional, and local transportation planning in Oregon
- The Transportation Options (TO) Estimator, a modified version of the Oregon ITHIM, to estimate physical activity-related impacts of ODOT’s transportation options programs
- An add-on tool to the Oregon ITHIM that estimates savings in chronic illness health care costs resulting from increased physical activity
- HIA webinar series covering the connection between the built environment and health, HIA steps, and selection of appropriate HIA projects
- Oregon HIA Practitioner Toolkit: Handbook for Conducting Rapid HIAs
- OHA Screening Process
- HIA Project Request Worksheet
- Clatsop, Columbia, Crook, Klamath, and Washington County Health Departments
- Lane Council of Governments
- Metro Regional Government
- Northwest HIA Network
- OHA Climate and Health Program
- OHA Environmental Public Health Tracking Program
- Oregon Chapter of the American Planning Association
- Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, Air Toxics Group
- Oregon Department of Land Conservation and Development
- Oregon Department of Transportation
- Oregon Environmental Public Health Tracking Program
- Oregon Modelling Steering Committee
- Portland State University
- Page last reviewed: October 9, 2017 (archived document)
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