Doctors want newly elected councils to create infrastructure and urban planning that promotes walking, cycling, and public transport Monday, 14 October 2013

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MEDIA STATEMENT

14 October 2013

 

Doctors want newly elected councils to create infrastructure and urban planning that promotes walking, cycling, and public transport

Public health doctors in New Zealand are calling for newly elected Mayors and councils to develop a sustainable transport environment where active travel and public transport are prioritised and represent realistic and safe alternatives to travelling by car.

The College of Public Health Medicine President Dr Julia Peters says the current over reliance on private vehicle transport has negative impacts on health through road traffic crashes, air and noise pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and increased sedentary time.

 "Physical inactivity contributes to cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity, air pollution causes respiratory and other illnesses, road crashes cause death and injury, and vehicle carbon emissions contribute to global climate change including one sixth of New Zealand's total gross greenhouse gas emissions."

 "Active and sustainable modes of transport, such as walking and cycling, positively affect health. There are strong links between 'incidental' exercise and improved health. Walking or cycling can improve physical and mental health, community life, social wellbeing and community safety," says Dr Peters.

"Most journeys of less than 2 km can be completed by most people using their legs. Second best is public transport which also encourages physical activity as part of the journey and produces less harmful emissions compared with using private motor cars. But the current transport infrastructure focuses on private vehicle transport. "

The College says increased urbanisation demands planning that establishes viable transport options that are accessible and suitable for everyone and ensures streets are accessible by people of all ages and abilities.

"Investment in public and active transport is an investment in population health."

ENDS

For more information please call Dr Julia Peters: 022 054 2315

 

The NZCPHM Transport Policy is available here