Bicycle Haywood NC, a local bicycle advocacy group, and the Haywood County Recreation and Parks Department conducted an HIA to determine the impacts of the Haywood County Comprehensive Bike Plan. The HIA focused on key health outcomes that are strongly liked to bicycle activity: leading causes of death from heart, cancer and ischemic heart issues; heart diseases; obesity (and subsequent complications such as cancer, hypertension, type II diabetes, various heart issues, and stroke); and asthma and air quality. Recommendations offered by the HIA included a series of feedback loops to inform bicycle route investment for placement in relation to areas with pockets of poor health, and a list of health-specific priorities for the community to pursue. The HIA informed the outcomes of the plan by identifying a set of health-based priorities that were incorporated into the overall plan findings and used to guide health-specific strategies and funding pursuits.
The HIA examined the Haywood County Comprehensive Bicycle Plan through evidence-based analysis of the 5E elements of the plan: Engineering, Encouragement, Education, Evaluation, and Enforcement. The HIA considered bicycling for all of Haywood County, including four towns ranging in population from 1,000 to 10,000 (county population: 57,000), and evaluated the health impacts of the project’s goals and objectives, identified health-based priorities for facilities investments, and outlined programs and other strategies to help the implementers of the plan address needs from a health perspective.
Specific outcomes resulting from the HIA’s recommendations included: a new bicycle purchase grant for Haywood County Schools; discussions with the Community College to locate a “park-n-pedal” lot in a nearby park to encourage healthy commutes to the campus; and the pursuit of implementation measures for the number one health priority identified in the plan.