City residents are exposed to traffic-related air pollution, which affects respiratory and cardiovascular health and increases all-cause mortality. What does this mean for people in Wellington? Our medical students explore the issues in this video and report.

Just what are the health problems associated with Traffic-Related Air Pollution (TRAP)? What do members of the public and city decision-makers think about this issue? What media coverage does it get? And what about solutions? What overseas policy options might be helpful here?

By Lavan Sivaraja, Alana Chamberlain, Yaechan Ju, Tommy Loeffen-Gallagher, Hamed Al-Busaidi, Fabian Barrett, Lily Boothman-Burrell, Francesca Dalzell, Jordan Felderhof, Albert Hailes, Catherine Midgley, Nicholas On, Mike Peebles, Holly Pittar, Ali Sarfarazi, Nikeeta Unka, Laura Upton, Kavindu Weerasekera, Hope Yuan Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington, 2016.

This study found that participants in a public survey in Wellington considered TRAP to be an issue of moderate importance that local government should respond to, but felt there was not much information available. There was little discussion or information available in the media.

Stakeholders identified 5 key challenges to responding to traffic-related air pollution:

  • Perceived lack of information
  • Perception of it not being a serious issue
  • Lack of political will
  • Lack of coordination between organisations
  • The state of transport in Wellington.

Responses and solutions require an informed, activated public, and courage from politicians, along with systemic analysis to promote effective policies, and campaigns utilising digital and social media.

This report and presentation was prepared by 4th year medical students at the Department of Public Health, University of Otago, Wellington and Laura Upton, a student in the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences, University of Bristol, UK, with support from staff at the New Zealand Centre for Sustainable Cities.

Behaviour Change Health NZ Policy Transport Urban design & planning Urban Governance