US Highway 550 Improvements

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Health Impact Project

This HIA looked at a Department of Transportation proposal to redesign a five-lane, federal highway that runs through the small town of Cuba, New Mexico. This rapid HIA, initiated by a community advocacy group, looked at the potential impacts of proposed highway improvements, such as better lighting and sidewalks, on community health, walkability, pedestrian safety, social cohesion/community connectedness and economic development for downtown business. Ultimately, the HIA predicted that proposed improvements might encourage more walking in the downtown area, decrease the frequency and severity of pedestrian injuries, improve the overall atmosphere of downtown and potentially bolster the local economy. The HIA recommended that traffic calming measures, such as speed feedback signs, median islands and signage to designate the entrance into town and deceased speed limits, be included in the improvement plans to maximize potential community health benefits.


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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