BIXI CITIES : Description

Title: A multi-city study of the impacts of the implementation of public bicycle sharing programs on use of active transportation and risk of collisions.
Project description
There is growing evidence that changing the built environment and improving access to active transportation infrastructures (sidewalks, bicycle paths) have the potential to improve regular practice of physical activity and thus meet public health recommendations regarding physical activity.
Bicycle sharing programs are an innovative strategy to encourage active transportation. There are over 100 bicycle sharing programs worldwide (e.g. Hangzhou, Paris, Lyon, Barcelona). In 2009, Montréal was the first North American city to implement a bicycle sharing program, which it named BIXI. To date, studies evaluating bicycle sharing programs are sketchy.  The causal relationship between program implementation and impacts on bicycle use and collision risk is difficult to establish. Moreover, few studies have evaluated the effects of implementing bicycle sharing programs across several cities using control groups.
This study follows from the project entitled Population health impacts of an intervention to increase access to and user friendliness of a means of active Transportation: The case of BIXI Montréal. The goal of this study is to examine the impacts of implementing bicycle sharing programs on population health indicators in several North American cities.
More specifically, the project aims to
  1. measure the average impact of implementing bicycle sharing programs on bicycle use and risk of collisions between cyclists and motor vehicles;
  2. observe the variability in implementation of bicycle sharing programs on prevalence of bicycle use and risk of collisions between cyclists and motor vehicles;
  3. identify variables associated with the variability of bicycle sharing program implementation.
To meet the study objectives, a quasi-experimental design, known as non-equivalent groups design, is used. Populations living in cities with and without bicycle sharing programs will serve as experimental and control groups, respectively. Three repeated Internet surveys (2012 and 2013) will be conducted in five test cities (Montréal, Toronto, Vancouver, Boston and New York) and in three control cities (Detroit, Philadelphia and Chicago). There will be a sample size of 1500 people for each city and each survey, for a total of 36,000 individuals. The questions touch on five themes: 1) health status; 2) knowledge of and experience with self-service bicycle sharing programs; 3) vigorous physical activity; 4) bicycle-use habits; and 5) sociodemographic characteristics.  
Study results will be presented in scientific articles and presentations, as well as through knowledge sharing and utilization activities.
The project is funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).