2017 - Research

Neighbourhood socioeconomic and transport disadvantage: The potential to reduce social inequities in health through transport

Key takeaway:

  • The researchers examined neighborhood socioeconomic and transport disadvantage in Brisbane, Australia and found that disadvantaged neighbourhoods had greater connectivity and transit access, but also more exposure to traffic and associated health risks.

Results:

  • There is no evidence that socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods in Brisbane experience transport disadvantage:
    • Socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods had significantly greater odds of having highly connected street networks with shorter cul-de-sac and street blocks.
    • Socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods were also more likely to have transit stops within 400m and at least two transit services per hour.
    • The built environment (cul-de-sac and street block lengths) and transit access and frequency in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods follow Australian urban and transport policy recommendations.
    • However, socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods had higher traffic volumes, meaning traffic exposure (and risk of injuries/fatalities, noise pollution, and air pollution) was higher.

 

Implications:

  • Policymakers should mitigate the harmful effects of increased traffic exposure (pedestrian injuries and fatalities from crashes, noise pollution, and air pollution, all of which have been found to be higher in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods) in order to increase health equity.

 

Methods:

  • The researchers examined 2460 neighbourhoods in Brisbane, Australia. They measured neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage with a census-derived composite index that was based on 17 variables, including: education, occupation, income, unemployment, household structure, and household tenure, among others. They measured transport disadvantage by analyzing policy-relevant spatial measures, such as street connectivity, cul-de-sac length, street block length, traffic volume, public transport stops, and public transport frequency.

 

Rachele, J.N.; Learnihan, V.; Badland, H.M.; Mavoa, S.; Turrell, G.; and Giles-Corti, B. (2017). Neighbourhood socioeconomic and transport disadvantage: The potential to reduce social inequities in health through transport. Journal of Transport & Health, 7 Part B.