?> Safe Routes to School

Health Impact Assesment


A Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a process that helps to evaluate the potential health effects of a plan, project, or policy before it is implemented. HIAs provide recommendations to increase positive health outcomes and minimize adverse health outcomes, as well as bring potential public health considerations to the forefront of the decision-making process. Led by Director Freddy Collier and the Cleveland City Planning Commission, the Cleveland HIA team identified five goals for the assessment process:

  • Demonstrate how the Safe Routes to School initiative (education, encouragement, engineering, enforcement and evaluation) can impact health outcomes for students, families, and the community.
  • Use a health and equity lens to identify priority schools that serve the most vulnerable populations to strategically direct Safe Routes resource investments.
  • Infuse a preventive health lens in the prioritization of countermeasures in the Cleveland Safe Routes to School district STP.
  • Educate decision makers about the potential health impacts of Safe Routes countermeasures.
  • Enhance the knowledge, awareness and skills of stakeholders so they can effectively inform the HIA process and results.

The HIA analyzed potential impacts of Safe Routes to School implementation on four main health outcomes: pedestrian/cyclist injury, youth violence, childhood obesity, and stress/anxiety. Through the exploration of key determinants of health, such as poor infrastructure, lack of transportation, lack of community cohesion, safety concerns, vacancy, and abandonment, the HIA facilitated the identification of root causes of adverse health outcomes, allowed the prioritization of school buildings in inherently disadvantaged neighborhoods, and influenced recommendations for Safe Routes interventions aligned with one or more of the Safe Routes Es.