Engaging Two Healthy Neighborhood Communities in Bike Sharing as a Pathway to Better Health
Building Healthy Communities
January 3, 2017
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Bicycling is a simple way for people to incorporate physical activity into their daily lives and help fight obesity and its related health conditions.
Citi Bike’s bike-sharing program has the largest membership and highest ridership of any such program in North America. In New York City, a discounted membership is offered to some low-income residents, but its adoption has been slow. Research shows a lack of information and misperceptions about bike share are bigger barriers than price or payment options. In response, Citi Bike has made concerted efforts to promote the discount program, which have helped increase membership among low-income residents. Still, more work needs to be done beyond traditional marketing efforts to ensure that lower-income New Yorkers are aware of the discount program and understand how Citi Bike can be an asset to their health and to their neighborhoods. Building on a 2016 planning grant, NYSHealth awarded NYC Bike Share (NYCBS) a grant in 2017 to promote and grow Citi Bike’s discount program among New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents in East Harlem and Two Bridges, two of NYSHealth’s Healthy Neighborhoods Fund sites.
Under this grant, NYCBS launched a campaign that raised awareness of Citi Bike’s discount program among residents in East Harlem and Two Bridges. This grant built upon the groundwork laid by the 2016 planning grant, where NYCBS partnered with the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation to develop strategies for identifying and building relationships with other local leaders, residents, and stakeholders in the two neighborhoods. NYCBS further identified and built relationships with leading local organizations in each neighborhood to act as champions for bike sharing; hosted networking and community-building events; and employed and trained outreach ambassadors to organize biking activities. In addition, NYCBS engaged existing Citi Bike members who are NYCHA residents in the two neighborhoods in developing the campaign, as well as sent them to local events to promote Citi Bike membership and discounts for NYCHA residents, answer questions, and start identifying potential resident partners. As part of the campaign, NYCBS installed banners in multiple languages that highlight the discount program near each NYCHA development in the two neighborhoods.