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Open Access Research

The potential modal shift and health benefits of implementing a public bicycle share program in Montreal, Canada

Daniel Fuller1*, Lise Gauvin23, Yan Kestens23, Patrick Morency45 and Louis Drouin45

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Community Health and Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan, Health Sciences Building, 107 Wiggins Road, Saskatoon, SK S7N 5E5, Canada

2 Centre de recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, Succursale Centre-ville, Montréal, QC, H3C 3J7, Canada

3 Département de médecine sociale et préventive, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, Succursale Centre-ville, Montréal, QC, H3C 3J7, Canada

4 Direction de santé publique de Montréal, Université de Montréal, 1301, rue Sherbrooke Est, Montréal, QUE, H2L 1M3, Canada

5 Département de médecine sociale et préventive, Université de Montréal, 1301, rue Sherbrooke Est, Montréal, QUE, H2L 1M3, Canada

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International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity 2013, 10:66  doi:10.1186/1479-5868-10-66

Published: 24 May 2013

Abstract

Background

This study estimated the modal shift associated with the implementation of a public bicycle share program in Montreal, Canada.

Methods

A population-based sample of adults participated in two cross sectional telephone surveys. Self-reported travel behaviors were collected at the end of the first (fall 2009) and second (fall 2010) season of implementation. The sample included 2502 (Mean age=47.8 years, 61.8% female), and 2509 (Mean age=48.9 years, 59.0% female) adult respondents in each survey.

Results

The estimated modal shift associated with the implementation of the PBSP from motor vehicle use to walking, cycling, and public transportation was 6483 and 8023 trips in 2009 and 2010. This change represents 0.34% and 0.43% of all motor vehicle trips in Montreal.

Conclusions

The implementation of a PBSP was associated with a shift toward active transportation. The modal shift was complex and not simply the result of a discrete shift from one mode to another. Promotion of active transportation should encourage integration of multiple active transportation modes to better reflect people’s actual transportation behaviors.

Keywords:
Bicycle share program; Intervention; Life days gained; Modal shift, Transportation; Public transportation; Modal integration