Transport can impact both positively and negatively on health and wellbeing in a variety of different ways. For example transport can contribute to an increase or decrease in health determinants such as:
- Economic growth
- Physical activity opportunities through active travel
- Air quality
- Road Safety
- Social isolation and community cohesion.
Active travel is making journeys by physically active means, such as walking or cycling.
Utility travel is making journeys for a specific purpose such as walking to the shops or cycling to cycling to work or school.
- An effective and sustainable transport infrastructure is recognised as fundamental to achieving economic growth.
- The transportation and storage industries account for 1 in every 10 jobs in the Wakefield district, this is a significantly higher rate than that for the wider region and England as a whole.
- Car travel is the dominant mode of transport for commuting in the Wakefield district. However over the last five years car usage has dropped slightly as train usage and walking has increased.
- 6 in 10 employed adults in the Wakefield district work within 10 km of their homes (including those who work from home.) While 3 in 10 employed adults in the Wakefield district travel a distance greater than 10 km to get to work.
- Active Travel
- Cycling rates in the Wakefield district are low and have not changed significantly for a number of years.
- Fewer than 2 in 100 adults living in the Wakefield district who work fulltime states they usually cycle to work.
- Around 2 in 10 adults in the Wakefield district walk for utility purposes (e.g. travel to work or the shops) at least 5 times a week.
- Around 4 in 10 Primary (Year 5) and Secondary (Year 9) school children report they walk or cycle to school. However for young people in Further Education (Year 12) the figure was markedly lower at 1 in 10.
- The proportion of adults in Wakefield district who cycle for recreational purposes is roughly similar to the proportion who cycle for utility purposes.
- A higher proportion of adults in the Wakefield district walk for utility purposes than walk for recreation.
- The number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads of the Wakefield district is falling and has been for a number of years.
- Around 40 people per 100,000 are killed or seriously injured on the roads of the Wakefield district each year. This is a similar rate to that of England as a whole.
- 9 in 10 children say they always wear a seatbelt while travelling in a car.
- 4 in 10 Primary school children (Year 5) report they always wear a helmet when cycling a figure that falls to just 1 in 10 as children get older (Year 9 and Year 12)
- Motor vehicle emissions are a major source of air pollution in the Wakefield district and UK as a whole.
See Air Quality Section for further details.
- Transport promotes social inclusion by connecting people to employment, education, leisure and social opportunities.
- The number of private cars within the district has increased over recent years. Three-quarters of Wakefield households now have access to car or van, a figure comparable to that of England as a whole.
See Economy and Employment Section for further information.
- Primary school children (Year 5) in the Wakefield Rural area are significantly less likely to walk or cycle to school than Primary school children from all other parts of the district.
- Secondary school children (Year 9) in Normanton & Featherstone, Wakefield Rural and the South East of the district are significantly less likely to walk or cycle to school than those from other parts of the district.
- The Wakefield North Ward (includes the city centre) , Pontefract North Ward (includes Pontefract Town Centre), Ackworth, North Elmsall and Upton Ward and Castleford Central and Glasshoughton Ward (includes Castleford Town Centre) have the highest number of road traffic accidents in the district.
- Wakefield Central is the area of the district where both Primary (Year 5) and Secondary (Year 9) school children are least likely to always wear seatbelts when travelling in a car.
- Areas where Primary school children (Year 5) are least likely to wear a helmet when cycling are Castleford, Pontefract & Knottingley, Wakefield Central and the South East of the district.
- Children from ethnic minority groups are less likely to always wear a seatbelt when travelling in a car or a safety helmet when cycling than white British children (HBRQ). For example 6 in 10 pupils in Year 9 from ethnic minorities said they always wear a seatbelt while travelling in a car compared with 8 in 10 White British pupils.
- Children living in areas of deprivation are less likely to always wear a seatbelt when travelling in a car or a safety helmet when cycling than those from more affluent areas.
- Boys are less likely to always wear a seatbelt when travelling in a car or a safety helmet when cycling than girls.
- 4 in 10 Primary school children (Year 5) reported they always wear a helmet when cycling compared with 1 in 10 secondary school children (Year 9)
There are ten Air Quality Management Areas (AQMA) in the Wakefield district.
These AQMAs and the date of their declaration are shown below:
- M1 Motorway (2006)
- A1 Trunk Road (2006)
- Wakefield City (2006)
- M62 Motorway (2006)
- Knottingley Town Centre (2008)
- Pontefract Town Centre (2008)
- Featherstone Junction (2008)
- Castleford Town Centre (2008)
- Ackworth – Barnsley Road (2009)
- Hemsworth – Cross Hills (2013)
Wakefield Central is the area with lowest number of households with access to a car or van. For every 100 households in the Wakefield district as a whole 73 have access to a car or van compared to just 61 in the Wakefield Central area.
Poor transport infrastructure can act as a barrier to investment limiting employment and other opportunities that can have a negative on health and wellbeing.
See Economy and Employment Section for further information.
Some authorities argue that an increase in less active forms of travel (e.g. travel be car) has been a significant cause in declining physical activity levels.
There is much evidence to suggest participation active forms of travel, such as walking and cycling, can contribute positively to health and wellbeing. NICE Public Health Guidance 41 states that increasing “how much someone walks or cycles may increase their overall level of physical activity, leading to associated health benefits.”
See Opportunities for Physical Activity Section for more information on the burden linked to physical inactivity and sedentary behaviours.
Road traffic accidents have a significant cost to the individuals affected by them, wider society and the economy.
It is estimated that each accident where a fatality occurs has a cost to the economy of more than £2 million. Cost of an accident where someone is injured varies from around £230,000 for a serious injury to £24,000 for a slight injury, with an average cost of £76,000 per accident where an injury occurs.
It is estimated that air pollution, including particulate matter (PM) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) may be responsible for as many as 30,000 in the UK deaths each year and have an annual cost to the national economy of more than £50 billion. (WHO)
See Air Quality Section for further details.
See the Equality and Community Section for further details.
Development of new road schemes which promote economic growth and enable the district to flourish (e.g. Wakefield East Relief Road)
The Council runs a number of projects intended to support walking and cycling including organised groups, self-led maps, way marked routes and workplaces and schools based initiatives ( e.g. Walk Once a Week)
The Wakefield Safer Roads Healthy Places Plan (2015-18) provides details of activities a range of services, including Wakefield Council, West Yorkshire Police and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, will deliver in order to improve road safety across the district.
These activities include :
- Measures to promote safer road use and influencing driver and rider behavior
- Road safety education and training (e.g. Bikeability Training, Safe Routes to Schools, Independent travel training)
- Designing and maintaining safer roads (e.g. Carrying out Health Impact Assessments of major new road schemes, undertaking comprehensive highway inspections and repair regimes, delivery of winter road safety services and use ‘design hierarchy’ to ensure road schemes do not disadvantage or put at risk pedestrians, cyclists, and people with disabilities, horse riders and public transport users.)
- Providing safer crossing places
- Reducing road speeds (e.g. enforcing speed limits on local roads, introducing safety cameras, implementing ’20 mph zones’ and traffic calming schemes were appropriate.”
- Providing for pedestrians and cyclists (e.g. provision of cycle routes, promotion of walking routes, providing cycling facilities at junctions and roundabouts)
- Participation in Road safety campaigns (e.g. Look Out, Someone’s Son, School Gate Parking Initiative.)
Measures and services put in place to improve the districts air quality include:
The M1, M62 and A1 are significant sources of air pollution in the Wakefield district but, as major trunk roads, are under the control of Highways England rather than Wakefield council. However, each of the major routes has been the subject of significant road improvements and traffic management schemes aimed at reducing congestion and the associated air pollution, these include the implementation of the Smart Motorway on the M1 (J39 – 42) and M62 (J25 – 30) and various junction improvements.
In addition to the above recent Local Authority Road improvement schemes include:
- Wakefield – Eastern Relief Road (WERR), (Started in 2015 and opened in April 2017)
- Castleford – Glasshoughton Southern Link Road (starting in 2017 and due for completion in 2018)
Monitoring and Enforcement
Wakefield Council’s Environmental Health Service monitors Air Quality in the Wakefield district and also has a regulatory role to control emissions from domestic and commercial activity.
West Yorkshire Low Emission Strategy 2016-2021
Wakefield Council adopted the West Yorkshire Low Emissions Strategy in December 2016. This strategy was developed in conjunction with the other West Yorkshire local authorities and West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), and sets out how the West Yorkshire local authorities will work together to reduce emissions and improve air over the next five years.
Air quality and emissions reduction through the planning process, including use of HIA for planning framework, a review of the West Yorkshire Air Quality and Emissions Planning Guidance and Community Infrastructure Levy to support electric vehicle charging infrastructure.Social Inclusion