Researchers from RMIT University’s Healthy Liveable Cities Group and Cambridge University have been awarded over $800,000 in funding for a new project which will model and test the benefits of transport planning in creating healthier and more sustainable cities across Australia and the UK.

Funded by the UK Medical Research Council and the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Distinguished Professor Billie Giles-Corti and Vice Chancellors Research Fellow Belen Zapata Diomedi from RMIT Centre for Urban Research, together with James Woodcock from University of Cambridge, will be leading this new project.

“Currently in the UK, there are no consistent measurements of many important liveability factors, like how easy it is to get to the shops or public transport in different neighbourhoods.

“This means we have not been able to predict what might happen to people’s health if these factors changed.

“This makes it hard for planners to make changes in land use and transport policies, because they don’t have the evidence to show which design changes will benefit the health of communities the most.

“On the other hand, although our team at RMIT have developed detailed measures of liveability (in the Australian Urban Observatory), comprehensive studies linking possible changes in liveability to health outcomes are still missing in Australia.

This work builds on the research Healthy Liveable Cites Group have been doing with CAUL Hub, NHMRC and The Australian Prevention Partnership Centre. Research that also supported the development of liveability measures included in the Australian Urban Observatory.