Over 2009/10, a health impact assessment (HIA) was undertaken as part of a review of the Waikato Regional Land Transport Strategy (WRLTS) 2006–2016. Synergia Ltd was commissioned by Environment Waikato and Population Health to evaluate the HIA.
Overall, the HIA can be seen to have comprehensively assessed the potential health impacts of the WRLTS, with constructive engagement with across multiple settings and population groups. Participants in the HIA were able to contribute their views about health and transport. The process also enabled participants to build links and foster relationships.
The recommendations generated from the HIA flowed through to the Draft WRLTS and were adopted and/or partially adopted in the policy and strategy actions of the Draft WRLTS. It will be important for Population Health staff to monitor the development of the strategy and ensure that the gains achieved in the Draft WRLTS continue into its final form.
The HIA forged strong links between Population Health and Environment Waikato, which have enhanced capacity in planning and strategy development between the two organisations.
The evaluation report made several recommendations for future HIAs, around engagement with governance groups (such as the Regional Transport Committee); ensuring clarity among stakeholders of the full scope and process of the HIA; and maintaining the strength of connections developed between Population Health and Environment Waikato, so that future ongoing collaboration in transport planning is fostered.