Houston Transit-Oriented Development

At a Glance:

Location: Houston, Texas

Date: 2012

Vital Condition: Basic Needs for Health and Safety, Humane Housing, Lifelong Learning, Meaningful Work and Wealth, Reliable Transportation

Determinants of Health: food access, healthcare access, education, employment, affordable housing, active transportation, transit system, housing, Safe and affordable public transit

Affected Population: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, Children and Youth, People Living in Poverty, People who are Uninsured, People with Chronic and Multiple Chronic Health Conditions

Research Methods: Literature review, Primary research, Qualitative research

Community Types: urban

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Texas Southern University conducted an HIA to examine the health impacts of possible development patterns that could occur in the neighborhood near a planned station on a 30-mile, five-corridor light rail expansion. Transit-oriented development generally includes high-density housing and a mix of shopping choices near transit stops in order to encourage use of public transportation. The HIA examined potential health impacts that could result from the creation of city ordinances and incentives to promote transit-oriented development in the rail corridors, with a focus on one stop as an example. Increased access to public transportation and services, mixed-use land development and affordable housing are among the potential outcomes of transit-oriented development that could ultimately benefit health. The HIA found that a health-driven composite transit oriented development initiative would likely have a positive impact on health by slowing the onset of preventable diseases and positively affecting access to health care, opportunities for education, and employment. The HIA made several recommendations including installing complete sidewalk for all blocks; developing incentives or requirements to protect affordable housing from demolition or conversion to higher cost housing during redevelopment; creating additional bike routes to expand coverage and connectivity of existing routes; and establishing a Community Supported Agriculture program to bring in products from local farmers and provide easier access to fresh fruits and vegetables for residents.

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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