Pedaling and Public Health: Evaluating a Proposed Bike-Share Program in Philadelphia From a Public Health Perspective

Downing, Jessica V.

As bike-share programs have gained prominence in Europe and in the United States, their advocates have often cited the health benefits associated with biking for active transportation. This has been the case in Philadelphia as well as many countries throughout the United States. In 2010, the Philadelphia Bikeshare Concept Study provided a proposal for a specific program to be implemented in Philadelphia. Although improvements to public health were cited as motivations for this program, the study did not include in-depth analysis of the program's potential effects on public health. This thesis investigates whether the proposed program can indeed be considered a public health initiative, and if so, what the implications of framing it as a public health initiative may be for the overall design of the program. A statistical analysis of the distribution of the health conditions that could be prevented through active transportation highlights spatial and sociodemographic inequalities, suggesting that in order to effectively promote public health, Philadelphia's bike-share program must take active steps to target the city's most vulnerable communities.


Also Published In

The Journal of Politics and Society

More About This Work

Academic Units
Helvidius Group
Helvidius Group of Columbia University
Published Here
February 10, 2014


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