Thursday, May 13, 2010

The horrific costs of urban sprawl & traffic congestion

The Public Health Advisory Commitee (PHAC) has released an illuminating study into the linkages between urban environments and New Zealanders' wellbeing.

It highlights the urgent need to seriously challenge the supremacy of the car culture/road lobby, vehicle emissions and urban sprawl, and to reconstruct healthy, people-friendly cities.

This report contains some horrendous facts:

  • Physical inactivity accounts for almost 10 percent of New Zealand’s 20 leading causes of death. It is a contributor to obesity and type 2 diabetes, which together cost the health system over $500 million per year.
  • The social cost of pedestrian injuries and fatalities is estimated to be $290 million per year (based on 1996–1999 averages). The social cost of all road traffic injuries was estimated to be $3.7 billion in 2008.
  • Air pollution accounts for over 3 percent of New Zealand’s 20 leading causes of death. Motor vehicle pollution, which is more common in urban areas, causes an estimated 500 deaths per year, an extra 540 cases of bronchitis, and an extra 250 hospital admissions for acute respiratory and cardiac conditions in New Zealand in adults over 30 years. Vehicle emissions can cause or exacerbate respiratory and cardiac illness, which costs the health system and economy an estimated $415 million per year.
From 'Healthy Places, Healthy Lives: Urban Environments and Wellbeing' report to the Minister of Health prepared by the Public Health Advisory Committee. April 2010.
The full document is available on the PHAC website:

No comments:

Post a Comment