Common Ground Health selected the Rochester (New York) Bike Share program for an HIA because it experienced rapid expansion during its first year (25 planned stations and 250 bikes became 46 stations and 340 bikes in Phase 1). The study examined the program’s effects on residents’ physical activity, social cohesion, economic well-being, and access to food, as well as its accessibility for low-income residents and those with disabilities. The authors established a baseline demographic and health profile at the census tract level near the 46 stations.
The HIA analyzed chronic disease conditions throughout Rochester and recommended installing new bike stations in census tracts with the highest rates of chronic disease. To make the program more accessible for low-income populations, the HIA proposed offering a range of membership plans and adding a payment option that does not require a smartphone. Findings also supported educating residents on rules of the road, advertising the program, and placing bike stations near grocery stores to improve access to food.
In response to the HIA’s recommendations, the bike-share company Pace, which is owned and operated by Zagster Inc., implemented a cash-based system and developed a subsidized membership option of $5 a month for unlimited rides by residents receiving government benefits. In addition, the company is introducing accessible bikes, such as adaptive bicycles and tricycles, to better accommodate individuals with disabilities. Pace is also targeting the communities identified by the HIA as having the highest rates of chronic disease for new bike-share station placement.