Abstract Exposure to an array of air pollutants varies between different social groups. This inequity is one possible explanation for the disparities in health between areas of varying socioeconomic status. However, most studies of vehicle pollution and environmental justice have relied on crude and potentially inaccurate pollution estimates. Using geographically-detailed estimates of traffic-related air pollution, the study investigates whether exposure to pollution in Christchurch, New Zealand varies significantly between areas of different socioeconomic status. The findings suggest that mean exposure to pollution is highest in the most disadvantaged areas of the city. Furthermore, areas where car ownership levels are highest tend to have relatively low levels of pollution exposure. This suggests that there are social injustices in exposure to traffic-related air pollution across neighbourhoods within the urban area of Christchurch.