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

Jerome N. Rachele, Vincent Learnihan, Hannah M. Badland, Suzanne Mavoa, Gavin Turrell, Billie Giles-Corti

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    23 Citations (Scopus)


    Globally, concerns about population growth, urbanisation, traffic congestion, climate change and rising chronic disease are prompting policy-makers and governments to prioritise policies that support local walking and increase access to public transport. These are of particular relevance for those more likely to experience transport disadvantage, such as those in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas, where transport disadvantage tends to be higher. The aim of this study was to examine associations between neighbourhood socioeconomic disadvantage and transport-related spatial measures, identified through a review of transport-related policies. It included 2460 neighbourhoods in Brisbane, Australia as defined by the 2011 Australian national census boundaries. Neighbourhood socioeconomic disadvantage was measured using a census-derived composite index. Policy-relevant spatial measures included: street connectivity, cul-de-sac length, street block length, traffic volume, public transport stops and public transport frequency. Data were analysed using binary and multinomial logistic regression. More disadvantaged neighbourhoods had significantly greater odds of being highly connected, and with cul-de-sac and street block lengths, and public transport stop access and frequencies at levels recommended by Australian urban and transport policies, although they also had higher traffic volumes. Compared with more advantaged neighbourhoods, there was no evidence that disadvantaged neighbourhoods in Brisbane experience transport disadvantage. Although these neighbourhoods have higher levels of traffic, they are more likely to comprise urban and transport design features and levels of public transport access recommended by Australian urban and transport policies. The distribution of transport-related infrastructure in Brisbane has potential to reduce health inequities; and could potentially be enhanced further by reducing exposure to traffic.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)256-263
    Number of pages8
    JournalJournal of Transport and Health
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


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