The use and composition of the transport system has positive and negative implications for public health.
The HIA was led by a project team comprising representatives from the Canterbury District Health Board, Environment Canterbury (ECAN) and Christchurch City Council. The project team has been supported by Synergia Ltd (an independent health consultancy). Coinciding with the development of the RLTS, the Christchurch Transport Plan (CTP) is being developed by the Christchurch City Council with a parallel HIA process underway. The two HIAs have been designed to link closely together, with some joint planning, evidence-gathering and evaluation activities.
The majority of the HIA process has been undertaken while the RLTS was in the early stages of development. Therefore, rather than critiquing a draft Strategy, the HIA provides policy direction to inform the subsequent development of the RLTS.
Three focus areas were identified during the HIA scoping stage involving:
- making transport safe for people
- creating real transport choice
- building healthier environments.
The HIA highlights potential directions that the transport system could take to promote and protect the health of the people of Canterbury and provides a repository of policies to assist preparation of the RLTS.
The overriding recommendation of the HIA is that the RLTS supports a strategic direction that enhances active and public transport and reduces car dependency.
The other key recommendations of the HIA are to:
- improve mobility for the transport disadvantaged
- increase public understanding of the true costs of transport
- enhance urban design and land use planning to improve active lifestyles
- undertake education and marketing to increase awareness of the links between public health and transport
- reduce private vehicle dependence
- ensure that regulation and enforcement supports public health benefits
- ensure funding and investment supports public health benefits
- improve active transport infrastructure
- enhance public transport services and infrastructure
- support increased energy efficiency and environmental sustainability
- support the efficient and effective movement of freight
- ensure effective representation.