Applying health impact assessment to land transport planning
Source:New Zealand Transport Agency, Quigley and Watts Ltd, p.146 (2009)
Keywords:Health, impact assessment, public health, sustainability, transport planning
Transport decisions have major impacts on the wellbeing of current and future generations.
The effects of transport on public health and wellbeing may be direct or indirect, positive or
negative, intended or unintended, and immediate or long term. The NZTS 2008 outlines five
strategic objectives for the transport sector and one of these is ‘protecting and promoting
HIA is a widely used process internationally that investigates the potential health and
wellbeing implications of a proposed project, plan or policy. It offers a mix of procedures,
methods and tools by which to judge a proposal’s anticipated effects on the health of a
population, and the distribution of those effects within a population. It has been widely used
overseas in transport planning and is increasingly being used in New Zealand with initial
application mostly in urban planning. The aim of HIA is to inform decision makers about the
likely positive and negative effects of a proposal on public health and on health inequalities
in order to avoid unintended consequences and to make informed decisions. HIA is underpinned by a social model of health. This understanding of health is similar to everyday concepts of wellbeing or quality of life and incorporates a wide range of ‘determinants’ or
factors that help people stay well or increase their risk of becoming ill.