HIA of School Sited in TOD

Nashville HIAIn partnership with the Brown School of Public Health at Washington University, the Nashville Area MPO has completed a rapid Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of a proposed school site within the Hamilton Springs Transit Oriented Development (TOD) in Lebanon, Tenn.

The HIA concludes that if a school were sited within the TOD, all residents would live no more than a half-mile from the facility, thereby eliminating the need for busing and creating the potential for all students to walk or bicycle to school. The report also concludes that if the retail food environment were to receive careful consideration, the TOD might include a full-service grocer, and could limit or prohibit more unhealthy food options, enabling TOD residents to make food choices that would better promote health. The rapid HIA was developed in order to help influence decision-points in the TOD’s school-siting process, namely building placement and features, the supporting transportation network, and surrounding land uses.

Background

In 2012, construction crews broke ground on Middle Tennessee’s first transit-oriented development. The developer was interested in possibly including a school as part of the TOD Master Plan. The MPO was approached by the master site planner to provide information that would help the developer understand the economic and public health benefits of having a school within the TOD.  The MPO decided that a Health Impact Assessment that evaluated factors such as the siting of the school, the surrounding retail food environment, and availability of transportation options, could illustrate the potential impact on child health as well as the health of those who live and work within the TOD.

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