East Bay Bus Rapid Transit

At a Glance:

Location: Alameda County, California

Date: 2012

Vital Condition: Basic Needs for Health and Safety, Reliable Transportation, Thriving Natural World

Determinants of Health: clean air, traffic safety, transit system, active transportation, healthcare access, neighborhood safety, clean water, clean air

Research Methods: Literature review, Qualitative research, Quantitative research

Community Types: urban, suburban

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Human Impact Partners and the University of California, Berkeley schools of Public Health and City and Regional Planning, in partnership with TransForm and other Alameda County, California, community organizations, conducted an HIA of the East Bay Bus Rapid Transit Project connecting three cities in the county. The HIA examined the potential health implications of the project’s effects on mobility, access to goods and services, safety, and air quality.

The HIA found probable positive impacts on health in all four categories, with the largest benefit in traffic safety. The project would probably reduce motor vehicle volumes and speeds, improving overall pedestrian and bicycle safety. Infrastructure upgrades, such as crossing islands and high-visibility crosswalks, would improve the pedestrian environment. Adding bike lanes and removing buses from curbside lanes would enhance the built environment for cyclists. The East Bay Bus Rapid Transit Project would probably have a minor beneficial impact on air quality. The most significant air quality issues for communities along the proposed route are from Interstate 880 and the Union Pacific Railroad.

The HIA recommended approval of the project and provided recommendations to improve its impact on health, including providing free passes for students and seniors to increase accessibility and utilization; implementing all pedestrian and bicycle upgrades outlined in the final environmental impact report and project plans; providing enhanced pedestrian crossings at a maximum of every 600 feet along the route; ensuring that crossings in front of schools, senior centers, and libraries are equipped with flashing warning signs and high-visibility crosswalks; and closely monitoring construction sites to strictly enforce air quality mitigations laid out in the final environmental impact report.

The project was funded by the California Endowment.

This Health Impact Assessment Report first appeared in The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health. The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health was originally developed by the Health Impact Project, formerly a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The creation of this resource was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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