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Ho'opili Health Impact Assessment

Charlier Associates, Inc. (CAI) prepared a comprehensive health impact assessment (HIA) for the Ho‘opili transit-oriented development in Honolulu. Ho‘opili is a mixed-use TOD development along the Honolulu Rail Project that will provide homes for about 25,000 people. The development has been part of Honolulu’s long range growth plan since the 1970s.

The purpose of this HIA was to provide an objective, research-based evaluation of the public health impacts expected to result from urban design choices reflected in planning for Ho‘opili. The HIA determined five major public health factors that will be directly influenced by design of the built environment: traffic safety, active living, exposure to pollution, community cohesion, and access to healthy foods. For each factor, the HIA mapped a research-based “health pathway” showing cause-effect relationships between urban design characteristics of communities and neighborhoods, the resulting factors impacting public health, and the expected public health impacts. A clear connection was drawn between increasing urban design intervention strategies (such as those shown in the box below for the “Physical Activity Pathway”) that result in specific positive health impacts (for example, reduced cases of obesity and diabetes).

The HIA found that each of the recommended intervention strategies for the five health pathways were included in the development and transportation plans for Ho‘opili. Baseline data revealed a negative trend over the last several years for adults and particularly for children among all five public health factors in Hawai‘i. However, this HIA showed how Ho‘opili should be designed to reduce the exposure to key health risks and support multiple opportunities for healthy lifestyles for the families that will live, work, and play there.

This project followed up on previous transportation planning work Charlier Associates, Inc. performed for the Ho'opili mixed-used TOD project.

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