Indicators at a glance - Transport
This section summarises the latest Environmental Health Indicators about transport and health in New Zealand.
Transport can impact on our health through a number of ways: road traffic injuries and deaths, air pollution, noise pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and barriers to accessing services due to a lack of transport.
Active transport (eg walking and cycling) and public transport have positive health benefits, such as on mental well-being, physical activity and cardiovascular health.
- In 2017, there were about 4.2 million vehicles in New Zealand – the highest number ever.
- New Zealand has one of the highest car ownership rates in the world. In 2017, there were 792 light vehicles per 1,000 people in New Zealand.
|Main mode of transport to work on Census day
- In 2013, 82% of commuters used a car, truck or van as their main mode of transport to work on Census day.
- About 9.7% of commuters used active transport (walking, jogging or cycling). A further 5.7% of commuters used public transport.
- There has been no change in the combined use of active or public transport to work from 2001 (15.4%) to 2013 (15.4%).
- Wellington and Nelson regions have the highest use of active and public transport to work.
|Household travel time by mode of transport
- In 2011–14, New Zealanders spent 79% of their travel time in motor vehicles (cars, vans or motorcycles). About 15% of travel time was spent walking or cycling. A further 4% was spent on public transport.
- There has been little change over time in the proportion of time spent on different transport modes.
- Active transport was used most in the Otago, Gisborne, Wellington and Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman regions.
- Public transport was used the most in Wellington, Auckland and Southland.
|Active transport to and from school
- The percentage of children walking to school dropped from 42% in 1989/90 to 29% in 2010–14. For cycling, the percentage dropped from 12% in 1989/90 to 2% in 2010–14.
- In 2016/17, 44.5% of children aged 5–14 years used active transport to and from school. There has been no major change since 2006/07.
- Children in Northland and Wairarapa District Health Boards (DHBs) had a lower use of active transport to school than the national rate in 2011–15.
|Unmet need for GP services due to lack of transport
- In 2016/17, 2.6% of children and 3.2% of adults had a medical problem but did not visit a GP due to a lack of transport, in the past 12 months.
- There has been little change in these rates since 2011/12.
- There were higher rates of this unmet need in Māori (7.5% of adults and 4.8% of children), Pacific (7.8% of adults and 4.5% of children) and people living in high deprivation areas (4.8% of children and 7.2% of adults).
- Rates of unmet GP need due to a lack of transport were higher in Hawke's Bay, Hutt and Counties Manukau DHBs in 2011–14.
|Road traffic injury deaths and hospitalisations
- The number of road traffic injury deaths increased from 2013 (253 deaths) to 2017 (379 deaths).
- Motorcyclists were at a higher risk of traffic injury deaths and hospitalisations per time spent travelling.
- Males, young people aged 15–24 years, Māori, and people living in more deprived areas generally had higher rates of traffic injury deaths and hospitalisations.
- West Coast, Tairawhiti and South Canterbury DHBs had the highest mortality rates for traffic injury in 2009-2014. In 2016, the highest hospitalisation rates for traffic injuries were in Northland and Tairawhiti DHBs.
- The number of traffic injury deaths for children aged 0-14 years decreased from 2007 (30 deaths) to 2014 (13 deaths).
|Health burden due to road transport
Road transport was estimated to be responsible for 650 deaths in New Zealand in 2012.
These deaths included:
- 308 deaths due to traffic crashes
- 218 deaths due to particulate matter (PM10)
- 65 deaths due to nitrogen dioxide exposure
- 59 deaths due to noise pollution.