NYC Bike Share LLC
Building Healthy Communities
Phase 1: $14,125; Phase 2: $199,336
October 2016- December 2017
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 initial adoption was slow in lower-income neighborhoods. Rather than it being an issue of price or payment options, research shows the largest barriers are a lack of information and misperceptions about bike share—a feeling that a bike-share program is “not for people like me.”
In response to this research, Citi Bike made concerted efforts in 2016 to promote the discount program in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn; these efforts led to increased membership among low-income residents. When NYHealth CEO David Sandman saw an article about the Bedford-Stuyvesant program, he tweeted about it, complimenting the success and also noting that similar efforts were needed in additional neighborhoods. His tweet caught the attention of Citi Bike and led to offline conversations about opportunities to encourage bike-sharing among residents of two of NYHealth’s Building Healthy Communities neighborhoods: East Harlem and the Two Bridges neighborhood of the Lower East Side.
NYHealth then awarded NYC Bike Share (NYCBS), the operator of Citi Bike, two grants to plan, promote, and grow Citi Bike’s discount program among New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents in these two communities. Under the first grant, NYCBS partnered with the Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (BSRC) to replicate in East Harlem and Two Bridges its successful work to increase ridership and engagement in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Specifically, NYCBS and BSRC worked to develop strategies for identifying and building relationships with other local leaders, residents, and stakeholders in the two neighborhoods. Building upon this work in a second grant, NYCBS implemented the strategies co-created with BSRC.