The relationship between public health, built urban forms and transportation options in Australia is increasingly becoming a focus of research.
The presenation will provide a review discussing possible health indicators to be used in assessing future land use and transportation scenarios under differing climate change situations.
Urban form characteristics, such as density levels and mixed land uses are identified. These characteristics can be measured to determine the health impacts related to the transport choices they provide. The health benefits, and subsequent economic benefits particularly from health-related productivity, of walkable, transit orientated urban forms are well established and are measurable. Important health indicators include vehicle miles travelled, access to public transport, access to green areas, transportation related pollution levels, transportation related noise levels, density and mixed land use.
A comparison between a high walkability urban environment and a low walkability urban environment identifies various infrastructure, transportation greenhouse gas emissions and health costs. From this it is determined that infrastructure and transport costs dominate.
Greenhouse gas emission costs are small unless the social costs are considered, and then they become substantial but still lower than the infrastructure and transport costs. They are cumulative however and will become more important in future. The health costs are very small if considered to be those related to sickness however health-related productivity gains that are associated with highly walkable urban areas are substantial. Increased productivity considerably outweighs the savings of increased physical activity and reduced health cost reductions from active travel alone. Furthermore these productivity gains are additive to the other costs and together all of these costs provide a powerful economic rationale for developing urban forms geared towards active travel.
Dr Anne Matan, Dr Roman Trubka, Curtin University Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute WA
The 5th Healthy Cities: Working Together to Achieve Liveable Cities Conference – June 6th to 8th – Geelong, Victoria