Proximity of transportation can have a major impact on people’s health for better or worse. Having easy access to transportation is an important benefit to people, but proximity can work against health as well—it can impede quality of life in a number of ways, including air quality, noise, pedestrian safety, and aesthetically.
That is why the Transportation Reform Law in Massachusetts included not only realignment of agencies in order to make operations more efficient, but mandated that health be considered in future transportation projects. By requiring that health impact assessments (HIAs) be factored in to decisions around transportation, Massachusetts has become a leader in the nation.
MA health and transportation officials are piloting an HIA as part of the Grounding McGrath Highway Transportation Study. This is the first step of a long-term project. The Grounding McGrath Study and the HIA are not only looking at the best way to address traffic issues on a major thoroughfare, but is also focusing on reducing environmental hazards and safety issues associated with the current configuration, and ultimately creating a design that actually promotes healthy behaviors by encouraging physical activity with a more pedestrian and bicycle friendly design.
Critical to this process is a newly formed partnership between the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Department of Transportation. Of paramount importance is the collaboration occurring right from the start with the community that is affected by these decisions. By forming these partnerships to protect and improve the health of people affected by the McGrath Highway, Massachusetts is working toward goals set forth in the National Prevention Strategy. Indeed Massachusetts is on the move.
Weekly Flu Report, December 12, 2014 posted on Dec 12
This week’s flu report shows a slight dip in rates of flu-like illness since last week’s report – which is entirely in keeping with the unpredictable nature of flu season. One thing we know for sure is that no matter what, the single best way to …Continue Reading Weekly Flu Report, December 12, 2014
Highlights of the Public Health Council Meeting, December 10, 2014 posted on Dec 10
The December monthly meeting of the Public Health Council featured the consideration of one Determination of Need (DoN) request, two votes on final amendments to existing regulations, and an informational presentation to the Council on a key DPH community initiative. First, the Council took up …Continue Reading Highlights of the Public Health Council Meeting, December 10, 2014
Make Toy Safety a Priority This Holiday! posted on Dec 8
Finding the absolute perfect gift is one of the joyful pleasures of the holiday season. Nothing can beat witnessing the smiles and excitement of children as they unwrap their toys. We want toys that will truly impress the little ones. Yet, as we begin our …Continue Reading Make Toy Safety a Priority This Holiday!