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 (such as skate board parks and walking trails); and
  • access to 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.

One of the easiest ways to incorporate physical activity into your life is to walk or cycle for everyday transport. Community and Public Health staff promote active transport within the community and in education settings and workplaces, in the following ways:

  • supporting Workplace Travel Plans and School Travel Plans (South Canterbury only);
  • 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; and
  • supporting the development of new recreational cycle trails and commuter cycle ways.

Scoot safe out there.New campaign to encourage safe e-scooting

The NZ Transport Agency has launched a new advertising campaign to encourage the safe use of increasingly popular e-scooters.

The key messages for e-scooter users from the campaign are:

  • Give way to pedestrians and other footpath users.
  • You must not ride at a speed that’s a hazard to themselves or other footpath users.
  • You should always wear a helmet.
  • Be aware that other footpath users can’t see or hear you coming.
  • Keep left if riding on the road – when it is safe to do so.

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 aims to promote walking as viable, affordable and easy transport, and make Christchurch streets a safer place to walk.
  • Go Cycle Christchurch provides free commuter cycling advice and practical on-road skills.
  • The ICECycles project helps people get access to free bikes and free bike repair. This project was developed by Community and Public Health.
  • The BuyCycles project supports people from Corrections and the Mental Health Services to buy a bicycle. This collaborative project with Community Focus Trust and Mental Health Services was developed and continues to be supported by Community and Public Health.

Making sure you get to work or school safely

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.

Staff in the South Canterbury office develop these plans in collaboration with school communities and the Timaru District Council.

Find out about work to support active transport and physical activity in workplaces.



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

Jane Sullivan
Ph: +64 3 687 2600
Fax: +64 3 688 6091

Rosie McGrath
Ph: +64 3 768 1160
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.

BuyCycles: Evaluation of a novel approach towards alleviating transport disadvantage

Transport is a determinant of health that enables access to employment and education opportunities, recreation and social activities, health and social services, and resources for everyday life. However, people may experience transport disadvantage when they cannot access appropriate, timely or affordable transport options.

BuyCycles is a health promotion initiative using a supported purchase model, developed by Community and Public Health. The BuyCycles pilot offers clients of community mental health services in Christchurch an opportunity to purchase a second-hand bicycle at a low cost and develop a suitable payment plan. This evaluation looked at the first seven months of the pilot, up until 31st August 2018.

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.

Page last updated: 08/07/2019

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