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Climate HIAs

Health impact assessment (HIA) provides decision-makers with information about how any policy, program, or project may affect the health of people.

Between 2011 and 2014, Oregon Health Authority (OHA) conducted a series of three health impact assessments (HIAS) on a series of decisions within Metro's Climate Smart Communities (CSS) planning project. The HIAs were requested by Metro to ensure that Metro decision-makers had access to public health evidence and best practices as they shaped and approved a greenhouse gas reduction plan for light duty vehicles in the Portland metropolitan region. 

Using in-depth literature reviews, expert analysis, and risk assessment-based modeling tools, the HIAs found that the scenarios under consideration during the CSS planning process could impact health by influencing physical activity levels, road safety for all users, and exposure to transportation-related air pollutants. The Climate Smart Strategy adopted by Metro Council could reduce chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, and diabetes 2-4%. That may seem like a small change, but the Portland metro region currently spend $1.2 billion each year on heart disease alone; tax-funded programs like Cover Oregon and Medicare pay for 35% percent of that total. By reducing cancer, chronic diseases, and traffic-related injuries and fatalities, the adopted Strategy could reduce health care spending by more than $100 million each year.

The HIAs also found that some members of the community bear more than their share of the costs for transportation and land use policies and investments. For example, people who bike and walk are exposed to greater risks on our region's roads leading to higher rates of injury and death; and people who live and work near high volumes roads are exposed to higher levels of air pollution, leading to higher rates of asthma, hear disease, and stroke.

Learn More

Climate Smart Communities Scenarios HIA (2013)

Community Climate Choices HIA (2014)

Climate Smart Strategies HIA (2014)