Cut off: the severance effect of busy roads

Tried to get from the waterfront to the city lately? Or had to use a “pedestrian refuge” to move around your local shops? Severance is a side-effect of big infrastructure in urban areas, and it’s something we need to know about.

As we learn the Inner City Bypass has worked out as a loss to the city, it’s a good time to get informed about the unintended and often un-measured effects of big roads.

Get along to the Centre for Sustainable Cities’ seminar this Wednesday 12-1pm in Newtown, and hear all about it from two smart researchers. The Centre says:

‘Community severance’ occurs where transport infrastructure or the volume and/or speed of traffic limit people’s access to good, services and people. It has long been assumed that this is detrimental to health but little research has examined this.

Dr Jennifer Mindell’s presentation will describe some early research on community severance and her work to develop a toolkit to measure the barrier effect of busy roads and its effect on local residents.

Dr Nadine Dodge will provide a local perspective on this issue by discussing what Wellington City Council is doing to address community severance.


Dr Jennifer Mindell is Professor of Public Health at UCL, where she conducts research on transport and health, particularly community severance (the barrier effects of busy roads) and road casualty rates for different travel modes. Her main role is leading the UCL team that works with NatCen Social Research (as the Joint Health Surveys Unit) to run the Health Survey for England, the second most downloaded government dataset on the UK Data Service. A public health doctor, she is based in UCL’s Research Department of Epidemiology & Public Health but works across faculties, for example to develop tools to measure the effects of busy roads on local communities. She is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Transport and Health. Jenny is on the Executive of the International Professional Association for Transport & Health (IPATH) and of the Transport and Health Science Group (THSG), and is convenor of the network for Mobility for wellbeing and health in Latin America, MoBiSaL.

Dr Nadine Dodge is a Senior Adviser, Transport Strategy at Wellington City CouncilHer work focuses on the interactions between urban form, transport, and wider social and environmental outcomes. Her doctoral thesis examined housing preferences in New Zealand and the impact of location choice on transport behaviour. [Also author of the Inner City Bypass research that’s making waves.]


12-1pm Wednesday 20 March
Small Lecture Theatre, University of Otago, Wellington 23a Mein St, Newtown

Image credits:
Banner – screen grab from Guardian Cities (marked up)

Further reading:

Did the Inner City Bypass deliver? Conference presentation and paper by Dr Nadine Dodge

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