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HIA Topics

Mobility

Mobility is the ability to move around a neighborhood, town or city to go to school or work, see friends and family, and do other activities like going to the doctor, library, and grocery store. Ideally, mobility is accessible to all, safe, convenient, and environmentally friendly.

A short walk or bike trip as part of a daily commute can make a valuable contribution to a person’s daily dose of physical activity, especially for those who currently get little or no physical activity, which includes nearly one-quarter of Californians. Facilitating access to stations and station area development by foot, bicycle and transit has the potential to increase physical activity. Local governments play a critical role in enabling non-motorized access to HSR stations by bringing in the sidewalks, bike lanes and walk/bike paths needed to connect communities to HSR stations and to make walking and biking safe and appealing for all. Improved transit connections play a large role in supporting active transportation, especially walking.

The HSR System has the potential to decrease traffic injury risk by providing a safer alternative to automobile travel. It can also affect roadway safety where it intersects other transportation routes. Separation of different travel modes, such as motor vehicle/pedestrian or train/automobile has also been shown to reduce collisions and traffic injury risk. Eliminating at-grade crossings and using parallel single-direction tracks can make the HSR System fundamentally safer than rail systems without these features.

Increased traffic volumes and density in station areas, along with mixing of travel modes, has the potential to locally increase traffic injury risk. Safer designs for traffic flow, separation of motor vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic, and enforcement can minimize risks.

Improved mobility and economic changes in communities served by the HSR System have the potential to improve access to medical and social services. It is important to consider, however, whether these improvements reach the populations who currently face the most barriers to access to services. Satellite clinics in or near stations, improved local transit connections, and paratransit connections are a few of the components that may be pursued to maximize potential improvements in access to services.

High quality parks and recreation spaces provide opportunities for physical activity. Physical activity is linked to reduced risk of obesity-related chronic diseases. Outdoor physical activity in particular is associated with improved mental health and social cohesion, and stress reduction. Vegetation in parks can also moderate ambient temperatures, remove air pollutants, and divert surface water run-off into groundwater recharge.

The HSR System could lead to some limited displacement of parkland, impede access, or reduce the quality of park use due to noise in parks close to the HSR alignment. On the other hand, integrating pocket parks into TOD areas and providing new quality park and recreation spaces would increase recreation opportunities for park-poor populations.

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