This chapter explores the links between transport and travel and health, with a focus on local level impacts.

Transport plays a key role in contributing to a range of health outcomes and wider socio-economic influences on health. A well-functioning transport system: supports the local economy; facilitates access to employment, training and essential services; minimises carbon emissions and improves air quality; and improves health by supporting incidental exercise through active travel. For more detail on air quality and health, see the ‘Health and the environment’ section of this JSNA chapter.

The following statement from the UK Faculty of Public Health sums up the overarching objective of a healthy transport system: 1

‘The underpinning principle of a public health approach to tackling complex health issues relating to transport should be a major shift away from cars in favour of active travel: walking, cycling and public transport […] To achieve this, increasing proportions of the population would need to consider the most convenient, pleasant and affordable option for short-journey stages to be walking and cycling, and for longer-journey stages to be cycling and public transport use.’

Hackney’s recently adopted Transport Strategy 2015-2025 states that: 2

By 2025, Hackney’s transport system will be an exemplar for sustainable urban living in London. It will be fair, safe, accessible, equitable, sustainable and responsive to the needs of its residents, visitors and businesses, facilitating the highest quality of life standards for a borough in the capital and leading London in its approach to tackling its urban transport challenges of the 21st century.’

Hackney is justifiably proud of its reputation for innovation in sustainable transport and is at the forefront of the cycling revolution in London, showing leadership at a time of general decline in cycling levels nationally.

The City of London continues to make ongoing investment in infrastructure to improve the environment and facilities for pedestrians and provide sustainable transport options.

Box 1: Definitions used in this section

Active travel – travelling by a mode of transport that is physically active, such as walking and cycling.

Cycle Superhighways – Transport for London (TfL) developed cycle routes running from outer London into and across central London. They are designed to be safer, faster and more direct journeys into the city.

KSI – Killed and Seriously Injured (in a road traffic accident).

London Travel Demand Survey (LTDS) – survey conducted by TfL on travel habits in the capital.

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2) – a pollutant that has been associated with a number of short and long-term health conditions including respiratory and cardiovascular conditions. 3

Particulate matter 2.5 and 10 (PM2.5 and PM10) – air pollutants made up of a complex mixture of non-gaseous particles of varied physical and chemical composition. Small particles are defined by their diameter and often grouped as being below 2.5 micrometres in diameter (PM2.5) or below 10 micrometres in diameter (PM10).

Public Realm – any publicly owned roads, paths, rights of way, parks, and open spaces accessible to the public, and public and civic buildings and facilities.

Social classification – population groupings based on occupation of head of household, ranging from I (professional occupations) to V (unskilled occupations).A

Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) – an area within which motor vehicles need to meet exhaust emission standards or pay a daily charge to travel.

 

 

Notes

  1. More information available from UCL at https://www.ucl.ac.uk/celsius/online-training/socio/se040100

References

  1. Faculty of Public Health, “Transport & health: A position statement,” 2013
  2. Hackney Council, “Hackney Transport Strategy 2015-2025,” 2016.
  3. Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (Public Health England), “Statement on the Evidence for the Effects of Nitrogen Dioxide on Health,” 2015.