Human Impact Partners (HIP) conducted an HIA that addressed the expansion and improvements planned for the I-710 freeway in Los Angeles, a vital transportation artery that links the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles to the Southern California region and beyond. A coalition including community groups, academic experts, city, county, regional and federal agencies, and environmental groups came together to encourage the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) to conduct an HIA on the proposed I-710 expansion. Project decision-makers voted to conduct the HIA to inform the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). Some of the pathways and health issues explored include jobs and economy, pedestrian and motor vehicle safety, air quality, noise and neighborhood resources. The HIA found that air quality impacts of the proposed alternatives would likely have a positive impact on health. The HIA also found that health would likely be negatively affected by noise related to the proposed project. The HIA made several recommendations including that a complete analysis of PM health effects, based on modeling, be conduted to better evaluate project alternatives and strategies. The HIA also recommended that noise be mitigated through design and using revenue from tolling to fund these noise mitigations.
HIP does not believe that the HIA report directly influenced the DEIR/DEIS, but the HIA training and process were very successful in raising awareness among many community groups, government agencies, and elected officials about the health impacts of freeway projects. The training and process also brought together and strengthened relationships between organizations that then worked together to develop an alternative for the freeway expansion that better balances goods movement and health objectives. This alternative is now being considered by Caltrans in the environmental review process. Last, this HIA serves as an important case study of the inclusion of HIA as part of the environmental review process.