Engaging Communities in Bike Share as a Pathway to Better Health
Building Healthy Communities
October 18, 2016
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, it offers a discounted membership for some low-income residents. Although Citi Bike has made cycling more accessible to many New Yorkers, adoption among low-income residents has been slow, despite its discount program. A recent survey among New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents found that most people have not tried Citi Bike and did not know about its discounted membership option. In 2016, NYSHealth awarded NYC Bike Share (NYCBS) a technical assistance planning grant in support of efforts to promote and grow Citi Bike’s discount program among NYCHA residents in East Harlem and Two Bridges, two of NYSHealth’s Healthy Neighborhoods Fund sites.
Under this grant, NYCBS laid the groundwork for a campaign in 2017 that raises awareness of Citi Bike’s discount program among residents in East Harlem and Two Bridges. Specifically, NYCBS partnered with the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (BSRC) to develop a community engagement strategy to increase ridership in these neighborhoods. BSRC has been instrumental in building up bike sharing and the discount program among low-income residents in its community. Together, these two organizations developed strategies for identifying and building relationships with other local leaders, residents, and stakeholders in East Harlem and Two Bridges in anticipation of promoting the 2017 campaign.