Encouraging Physical Activity through Active Environments and Transport

CyclingHagleyParkCommunity and Public Health works collaboratively with key stakeholders to ensure our urban areas across the region are active environments designed to promote physical activity, by having:

  • sufficient green space.
  • recreational areas and other open spaces (e.g. skate board parks and walking trails).
  • forms of active transport such as walking, cycling, jogging, using a scooter or public transport.

We actively contribute to local and regional planning strategies and decisions on open and recreational spaces, urban planning, transport, walking and cycling strategies and sustainability issues.

Community and Public Health staff promote active transport within the community, in education settings, and in workplaces, in the following ways:

  • Developing Workplace Travel Plans and School Travel Plans
  • Marketing, promoting and developing strategies to encourage safe and user friendly facilities for active transport within the community
  • Ensuring disadvantaged populations have access to safe active transport opportunities.

Staff on the West Coast are supporting the development of new cycle trails on the Coast.

Active and public transport infrastructure: a public health perspective

This literature review provides public health unit staff, planners and decision makers with an overview of transport planning principles and a summary of the key infrastructure initiatives (and their application, including retrofitting) that help to provide a safe, healthy and efficient active and public transport network.

This report looks at the relative merit and preferred active transport and public transport infrastructure options that can be applied to different road types (excludes national and regional roads) — drawing on evidence and examples from a range of existing international and New Zealand design guidelines.

View other documents produced by the Public Health Analysts at Community and Public Health.

Addressing active transport concerns and issues

Apart from being opportunities for physical activity, active transport also contributes to the health of the population and other benefits to society through:

  • Reduced air pollution.
  • Safer roads and less congestion.
  • Higher street security and crime prevention through more ”eyes on the street”.
  • Enhanced mental wellbeing by greater social capital and incidental social interaction.
  • Greater personal resilience and less dependency on fossil fuels.
  • A more productive workforce with less absenteeism.

Community and Public Health works with a number of partner agencies or is a member of several networks to address active transport concerns:

  • Cycling Advocates Network aims to get more people to cycle more often, and Community and Public Health works closely with each of their regional branches.
  • Disabled Persons Assembly works with us towards a transport network that is accessible to all including people with disabilities, the very young and the elderly.
  • Frocks on Bikes is a national voluntary organisation promoting bike riding as a mainstream activity that does not need special clothing or a great deal of physical fitness.  Community and Public Health founded the local Canterbury group so staff manage and inform subscribers of upcoming rides and bike related activities.
  • Living Streets Aotearoa works with Community and Public Health to promote walking as viable, affordable and easy transport, and make Christchurch streets a safer place to walk.

ICEcycles: Improving access in disadvantaged communities

Community and Public Health works collaboratively with Te Whare Roimata and Spokes Canterbury to run the ICEcycles Project in Christchurch that:

  • enables people to access free mechanical help with their bikes.
  • provides free opportunities to learn to maintain your bicycle.
  • provides free bikes to those on low wages. Wage earners can give a small donation to receive a bike.

Free bike fix up workshops help people get their bikes safe and roadworthy, and have run in the Inner City East suburbs since 2009.

ICEcycles also accepts donations of bikes, whether in good condition or needing repairs to further their work in disadvantaged communities.

Read about some the achievements of the ICEcycles project [PDF].

Check out ICEcycles on Facebook for information on upcoming events.

ICECycles donated up to 70 bikes and several boxes of spare parts to support the South Dunedin Bike Library in mid-2014. The ICEcycles project won a Highly Commended Award in the 2012 CDHB’s Quality Improvement and Innovation Awards.

Making sure you get to work or school safely

Staff work on Travel Plans within the Canterbury District Health Board, considering:

  • ride sharing
  • greater uptake of public transport use
  • active forms of transport (cycling, walking, jogging) to work.
  • facilities and infrastructure that enable and encourage active transport (e.g.secure cycle storage, access to staff showers, and cycle training).

SchoolTravelWalkathonSchool Travel Plans provide safe options for children travelling to and from school. These are developed in collaboration with school communities and the local council, and have the following benefits:

  • Children are healthier through increased opportunities for physical activity.
  • Increased awareness among parents on the importance of physical exercise for their children.
  • Less cars on the road at peak times and less congestion at the school gate.
  • Children are more aware of the effect of their actions on their environment (pollution reduced, and energy saved).
  • Parental concerns about real and perceived road traffic dangers get addressed.



Download or order resources from the Community Health Information Centre.


For further information, contact:

Meg Christie
Ph: +64 3 378 6817
Fax: +64 3 379 6125

Stacey Day
Ph: +64 3 687 2626
Fax: +64 3 688 6091

Rosie McGrath
Ph: +64 3 768 1660
Fax: +64 3 768 1169

Plan your journey using Transport for Christchurch

The Transport for Christchurch website lets travellers around the city know where major road works and closures are no matter what your mode of transport – car, bus, motorcycle, cycling or walking.

Navigate around the interactive map to identify where road works are located and how they may affect your journey around the city. The interactive map also provides real-time traffic flow information on arterial roads within the city area.

Canterbury DHB staff are becoming Clever Commuters

The Canterbury District Health Board operates a campaign to encourage staff to change how they get to and from work.

The Clever Commuters project has developed in conjunction with the Christchurch City Council and Environment Canterbury to make it easier for CDHB staff to walk, bike, bus or carpool to and from work. It was launched at the Hillmorton Campus in late 2015, with a view to rolling it out to other sites this year.

CDHB Sustainability Advisor James Young says changing how staff get to work, even just twice a week, will benefit staff, patients, the community, and the environment. “Small changes by a lot of people can have a big impact. Biking, walking, bussing and carpooling can save money, free up parks for patients, and reduce air pollution” James says.

Cycle ways in Christchurch

A connected network of safe cycle ways will help make Christchurch a cycle-friendly city.

The first four of the proposed 13 routes are:

  • Uni-Cycle linking Canterbury University to the Central City through Hagley Park – construction underway.
  • Papanui Parallel connecting Northlands and the Northern Rail Route to the Central City – construction underway.
  • Quarryman’s Trail linking between Halswell, Hoon Hay and Somerfield to the Southern Lights route (connecting suburbs around Beckenham to the Central City).
  • Rapanui − Shag Rock Cycleway from the Coastal Pathway at Ferrymead to the Central City – completed.
Page last updated: 17/03/2017

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