Rochester Bike Share

At a Glance:

Location: Rochester, New York

Date: 2018

Vital Condition: Basic Needs for Health and Safety, Belonging and Civic Muscle, Meaningful Work and Wealth, Reliable Transportation

Determinants of Health: nutrition, food access, belonging and civic muscle, parks, transit system, active transportation, meaningful work and wealth, physical activity, active transportation

Affected Population: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, People Living in Poverty, People with Chronic and Multiple Chronic Health Conditions, People with Disabilities

Research Methods: Quantitative research, Qualitative research, Literature review

Community Types: urban

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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.

This Health Impact Assessment Report first appeared in The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health. The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health was originally developed by the Health Impact Project, formerly a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The creation of this resource was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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