Potential Public Health Impact
Reach: Complete streets policies have potential for broad reach to Hawaii’s population, through change to existing infrastructure and also to areas where new development is underway. Those living in sparsely populated areas may not be reached. Education about the importance of supportive infrastructure that encourages active transportation may increase levels of physical activity.
Effectiveness: This policy lays the foundation for change in the way road systems are improved or developed. It has the potential to be an effective catalyst for change and to encourage development of environments that will be more supportive of physical activity. Baseline data on the pedestrian environment, mode of transit to work, and perceived safety have been collected and plans are underway to recollect data as part of an ongoing evaluation plan.
Adoption: The policy has been enacted at the state level. At this point, one of four counties in Hawaii has enacted a county-level Complete Streets resolution. Complete streets policies are being enacted nationwide, suggesting that they have strong potential for adoption.
Implementation: A task force established by the Hawaii Department of Transportation met and developed recommendations for implementation. Actually implementing changes to infrastructure may be challenging. The policy allocated no additional funding. Although funding is available from other sources, it is not clear if it will be sufficient. However, a recent report from CompleteStreets.org suggests that these policies can be implemented at little cost to transportation budgets.
Maintenance: There is high potential for maintenance of this policy. There are already mechanisms in place to monitor roadway development and improvement projects, so this can be an added component. Plans are in place to collect evaluation measures. The statutory changes that come with a state resolution are a high measure of sustainability. Getting county and local communities to also enact these policies and incorporate them into their planning documents will increase sustainability. Influencing the culture and thought process when making improvements to roads or new developments is the first step in actual change. The complete streets policy can be this influence over time.