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Transport, access, choice and health

women sitting in bus with their backs to the camera
© Unsplash

Liveability, particularly in urban environments, is strongly linked to access and choice with transport. This in turn impacts on health and even life expectancy.

Transport choice

Having transport choice provides a ‘right to the city’, greater equity of access to work and services and addresses a range of land use challenges in cities, particularly the impacts of land uses and space associated with cars.

Creating transport choices enables a range of solutions to urban planning objectives. As evidenced around the world, liveability and planning objectives are met because of the relationship between:

  • clean air and reduced motorised transport
  • active streets and reduced car speeds and volumes (and car parking)
  • walkability and the economic life of the city.

Barriers to transport choice

A range of barriers exist to transport choices, particularly active transport in the city.

  • Safety and security

Safety concerns relate to transport mix, population age and to levels of active transport in the environment. For example, research into the relationship between the numbers of people walking or bicycling and the frequency of collisions between motorists and walkers or bicyclists found that a motorist is less likely to collide with a person walking and bicycling if more people walk or bicycle.

Notions of safety and security in the city, particularly for women and children, are real and perceived barriers to public transport use and active transport options, particularly outside of peak times.

  • Quality of urban environments

The quality of urban environment is critical for transport choices at the local level. It provides a basis for street activity that supports transport choice beyond the car. For example, research exploring heat shade and comfort is increasingly important to inform urban policy and promote active transport under climate change.

Your Task

Consider which of the above is more important to you, quality, safety or postcode location? Share your ideas in the comment section below.

© RMIT Europe and EIT Urban Mobility
This article is from the free online

City Liveability: The Intersections of Place, Mobility, and Health

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