The South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health (IMPH) worked with the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) to manage a project funded by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officers (ASTHO) to support capacity building for Health Impact Assessments (HIAs) in South Carolina. As part of the capacity building process, IMPH spearheaded the first HIA in South Carolina and partnered with DHEC, Partners for Active Living, the Spartanburg Area Transportation Study (SPATS), and the Berkeley/Charleston/Dorchester Council of Governments (BCDCOG). The HIA examined the potential health impacts of the proposed re-striping and “road diet” of a downtown Spartanburg arterial road, Daniel Morgan Avenue. A road diet is a technique to reduce the number of lanes on a roadway to provide safe space for pedestrians and cyclists.
The results of the HIA suggest that the proposed road diet and re-striping could not only improve the health of many people but may also prevent death, injury and/or serious illnesses. The proposed improvements to the road design would allow for increased safety for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians. Through increased opportunities for physical activity and access to goods and services that support a healthy lifestyle, many chronic diseases can be prevented on the community and individual level. Potential improvements to air quality could have a positive effect in preventing and controlling respiratory illnesses.
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