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Who is in the near market for bicycle sharing? Identifying current, potential, and unlikely users of… Hosford, Kate; Lear, Scott A; Fuller, Daniel; Teschke, Kay; Therrien, Suzanne; Winters, Meghan Nov 29, 2018

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RESEARCH ARTICLE Open AccessWho is in the near market for bicyclesharing? Identifying current, potential, andunlikely users of a public bicycle shareprogram in Vancouver, CanadaKate Hosford1,2* , Scott A. Lear1,3, Daniel Fuller4,5, Kay Teschke6, Suzanne Therrien2 and Meghan Winters1,2AbstractBackground: Public bicycle share programs in many cities are used by a small segment of the population. Tobetter understand the market for public bicycle share, this study examined the socio-demographic andtransportation characteristics of current, potential, and unlikely users of a public bicycle share program andidentified specific motivators and deterrents to public bicycle share use.Methods: We used cross-sectional data from a 2017 Vancouver public bicycle share (Mobi by Shaw Go) membersurvey (n = 1272) and a 2017 population-based survey of Vancouver residents (n = 792). We categorized non-usersfrom the population survey as either potential or unlikely users based on their stated interest in using public bicycleshare within the next year. We used descriptive statistics to compare the demographic and transportationcharacteristics of current users to non-users, and multiple logistic regression to compare the profiles of potentialand unlikely users.Results: Public bicycle share users in Vancouver tended to be male, employed, and have higher educations andincomes as compared to non-users, and were more likely to use active modes of transportation. The vast majorityof non-users (74%) thought the public bicycle share program was a good idea for Vancouver. Of the non-users,23% were identified as potential users. Potential users tended to be younger, have lower incomes, and were morelikely to use public transit for their main mode of transportation, as compared to current and unlikely users. Themost common motivators among potential users related to health benefits, not owning a bicycle, and stations neartheir home or destination. The deterrents among unlikely users were a preference for riding their own bicycle,perceived inconvenience compared to other modes, bad weather, and traffic. Cost was a deterrent to one-fifth ofunlikely users, notable given they tended to have lower incomes than current users.Conclusion: Findings can help inform targeted marketing and outreach to increase public bicycle share uptake inthe population.Keywords: Bicycling, Bicycle share, Active transportation, Social marketing* Correspondence: khosford@sfu.ca1Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive,Burnaby, BC V5A1S6, Canada2Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, 2635 Laurel Street, Vancouver, BC V5Z1M9, CanadaFull list of author information is available at the end of the article© The Author(s). 2018 Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, andreproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link tothe Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver(http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.Hosford et al. BMC Public Health         (2018) 18:1326 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-018-6246-3BackgroundCities often implement public bicycle share programs as away to help shift populations towards active and sustain-able modes of transportation. By making bicycles availableat docking stations throughout a city, these programs in-crease access to bicycles, especially for those who do notown a bicycle. However, public bicycle share programs arenot used equally by all segments of the population. Inmany cities, program members tend to be male, Cauca-sian, employed, and have higher educations and incomescompared to the general population [1]. This has raisedconcerns that public bicycle share programs are furtherdisadvantaging populations that may already experienceinequitable access to transportation options [2, 3]. Inaddition, the majority of bicycle share trips replace tripspreviously made by walking or public transit, indicatingthat bicycle share appeals to people who already use activeand sustainable modes of transportation [4–6]. In order tomeaningfully contribute to creating a population levelmode shift towards active and sustainable transportation,and to do so equitably, public bicycle share programs needto appeal to a broader population.Social marketing is one approach to increase equitableaccess to public bicycle share and promote more wide-spread uptake. This approach involves the use of market-ing concepts and strategies to influence behaviour change,and has commonly been used in public health to influencea number of behaviours including physical activity, drink-ing and driving, and smoking [7]. Social marketing hasalso been used for other transportation modes, such as bi-cycling, car sharing, and public transit [8–10].A key aspect of social marketing is tailoring marketingand outreach strategies to segments of the populationthat share similar desires, attitudes, demographic charac-teristics or behaviours [7]. In the case of public bicycleshare programs, this requires an understanding of whothe users and non-users of these programs are, their atti-tudes towards such programs, and specific motivatorsand deterrents to program use.A number of previous studies focus on understandingusers of public bicycle share programs and motivatorsand deterrents to use [11–15]. Investigations ofnon-users of public bicycle share programs are less com-mon, and often focus on understanding specific seg-ments of the population (e.g., low income residents) orhave small sample sizes that are not representative ofthe general population [1, 16–18]. Moreover, studiesrarely stratify non-users based on their interest in usingpublic bicycle share. Better understanding of the poten-tial and unlikely users of public bicycle share programsalong with their motivators and deterrents can provideevidence for bicycle share demand acrosssocio-demographic groups and can serve as valuabledata for social marketing efforts by public bicycle shareoperators and cities with the goal of increasing public bi-cycle share uptake at the population level.To better understand the market for public bicycleshare, this exploratory study examined the socio-demo-graphic and transportation characteristics of current, po-tential, and unlikely users of the Vancouver public bicycleshare program and identified specific motivators and de-terrents to public bicycle share use. In the discussion, weprovide examples of social marketing strategies that mayhelp to increase uptake of public bicycle share, particularlyamongst the potential user group.MethodsContextThe City of Vancouver has a population of 630,000 people[19]. Bicycling for transportation is growing in popularity,with bicycling commute to work mode share estimated at6.1% in 2016, up from 4.4% in 2011 [19, 20]. Compared tomany North American cities, Vancouver has an extensivebicycle network with over 320 km of bicycle routesthroughout the city. Vancouver’s public bicycle share pro-gram, Mobi by Shaw Go, launched in the summer of 2016in the downtown core with 23 stations and 250 bicycles.As of fall 2017, the program has 122 stations and ~ 1200bicycles with a service area of 17 km2, and has been usedfor more than 680,000 trips [21]. There are three Mobi byShaw Go passes available for purchase: 24-h ($9.75),3-month ($75), and annual ($129), which provide unlim-ited 30-min bicycle share trips.DataWe used data from two cross-sectional surveys. Forcurrent bicycle share users (required to be ≥18 years),we used an online Mobi member survey distributed to allannual and monthly members enrolled as of September 9,2017 (survey dates: September 22–October 6, 2017,n = 1400, 29.4% response rate). To characterize thepotential market for public bicycle share (potentialusers and unlikely users), we used a population-based survey of Vancouver residents (≥18 years) re-cruited through an online panel using age and sex quotas(October 13–31 2017, n = 966, 15.6% response rate). Thesurvey was described as exploring transportation choicesin Vancouver and did not mention the ‘Vancouver publicbicycle share program’ to avoid biasing participation. Bothsurveys included questions on individual and householddemographics, transportation access, transportationbehaviour, public bicycle share use or likelihood of use,and motivators and deterrents to public bicycle share use(see Additional file 1 and Additional file 2 for a completelist of survey questions). The Simon Fraser UniversityResearch Ethics Board approved all study procedures andrespondents provided written informed consent.Hosford et al. BMC Public Health         (2018) 18:1326 Page 2 of 10MeasuresWe considered all respondents from the Mobi membersurvey that had used the program at least once to be“current users” of public bicycle share. And we consideredall respondents from the Vancouver population survey whohad not used the program to be “non-users” of bicycleshare, and further categorized this group as either potentialor unlikely users based on their response to the question,“How likely would you be to use public bike share inVancouver at some point in the next year, given that sta-tion locations are accessible to you?” We categorized re-spondents who selected “very likely” or “somewhat likely”as potential bicycle share users, and respondents who se-lected “not likely” or “not all likely” as unlikely users.We examined socio-demographic and travel character-istics that are potentially related to public bicycle shareuse, and were available in both the Mobi member andVancouver population survey datasets. Variables in-cluded: individual demographics (sex, age, education,employment status, place of birth); household demo-graphics (household income, having children at home);transportation access and behaviour (car access, carshare membership, bicycle access, primary mode oftransportation, bicycled in the past year, perceived safetyof bicycling in Vancouver); location (living and/or work-ing within 500 m of a Mobi by Shaw Go docking sta-tion); and perception of the Vancouver public bicycleshare program.We identified motivators and deterrents to using publicbicycle share from two Vancouver population surveyquestions. We asked “potential users” of the bicycle shareprogram to select all the reasons that would influencetheir decision to use the program from a 14-item list.Similarly, we asked “unlikely users” to select all the rea-sons that would influence their decision to not use theprogram from an 18-item list. The items listed were basedon input from Mobi by Shaw Go and the City of Vancou-ver and from motivators and barriers to public bicycleshare use identified in previous studies [14, 16, 22].AnalysisWe applied weights to the Vancouver population surveyrespondent age and sex strata to match those of the2016 Canadian census data for the city. We excluded“current users” from the Vancouver population surveydue to the small number (n = 57) and different surveymethodologies between the population survey and Mobimember survey.In the first part of the analysis, we used descriptive sta-tistics from the member and population surveys to con-trast the socio-demographic and travel characteristics ofcurrent public bicycle share users with non-users of theprogram. We focused on percentage differences of atleast 5% and trends across categories. In the second partof the analysis, we used logistic regression to identifyvariables that are associated with being a potential userof bicycle share, compared to an unlikely user, using datafrom the population survey. For the multivariable model,we used backward stepwise regression and selected themodel with the lowest Akaike Information Criterion(AIC) value. The final multivariable model included age,employment status, place of birth, annual household in-come, car share membership, primary mode of transpor-tation, bicycled in the past year, and perceived safety ofbicycling. Finally, we present potential motivators tousing the program among potential users and potentialdeterrents among unlikely users from the populationsurvey, ranked by the percentage of respondents that se-lected the motivator or deterrent. All statistical analyseswere conducted in R version 3.4.3.ResultsIn total, 1400 respondents completed the Mobi membersurvey and 966 respondents completed the Vancouverpopulation survey. Of the 1400 Mobi member survey re-spondents, we excluded 34 that had not yet used theprogram and 94 with missing demographic data. Of the966 population survey respondents, we excluded 53 wholived outside of the city of Vancouver (the study area),35 with missing demographic data, 57 who used thepublic bicycle share program previously, and 29 who didnot indicate a likelihood of using the program (i.e.,responded “Don’t know” or “I prefer not to answer”).Our final analytic sample included 1272 current usersand 792 non-users, of whom 182 were potential users(23%) and 610 were unlikely users (77%).Current users compared to non-usersTable 1 presents characteristics of current, potential, andunlikely users of the Vancouver public bicycle share pro-gram. Current users were disproportionately male(58.3%) and between the ages of 25–54 (85.6%), andmore likely to be employed (90.5%) and have a graduatedegree (34.8%). Current users were more likely to havehousehold incomes >$150,000 compared to potentialand unlikely users (27.2% compared to 10.0% and 11.2%,respectively), and potential users had lower incomescompared to the other two groups. Responses acrosstransportation variables indicate that current users arethe most oriented towards active modes of transporta-tion. Current users were more likely to have a car sharemembership (67.7%) and a personal bicycle (69.8%), re-port walking or bicycling as their primary mode of trans-portation (45.2%) and perceive bicycling to be safe(79.3%). Most current users either lived or worked insidethe bicycle share service area (92.0%), compared to58.2% of potential users and 49.7% of unlikely users.Hosford et al. BMC Public Health         (2018) 18:1326 Page 3 of 10Table 1 Characteristics of current users and non-users of the Mobi by Shaw Go public bicycle share program in Vancouver, from asub-sample of the 2017 Mobi member survey (n = 1272) and 2017 Vancouver population survey (n = 792)Current Users Potential Users Unlikely Usersn = 1272 n = 182 n = 610n (%) Weighted n (%) Weighted n (%)DemographicsSex, Female 530 (41.7) 92.5 (50.8) 318.0 (52.1)Age18–24 42 (3.3) 22.4 (12.3) 54.1 (8.9)25–34 463 (36.4) 69.4 (38.1) 102.2 (16.7)35–44 376 (29.6) 36.4 (20.0) 89.7 (14.7)45–54 249 (19.6) 25.2 (13.8) 115.3 (18.9)55–64 101 (7.9) 22.3 (12.3) 103.5 (17.0)65+ 41 (3.2) 6.3 (3.5) 145.5 (23.8)EducationHigh school or less 38 (3.0) 18.2 (10.0) 62.1 (10.2)Post-secondary 791 (62.2) 125.6 (69.0) 431.9 (70.8)Graduate post-secondary 443(34.8) 38.3 (21.0) 116.3 (19.1)Employment statusEmployed 1151 (90.5) 149.4 (82.0) 368.9 (60.5)Unemployed 30 (2.4) 14.0 (7.7) 31.0 (5.1)Student 43(3.4) 14.5 (8.0) 28.6 (4.7)Retired 48 (3.8) 4.2 (2.3) 181.7 (29.8)Born in Canada (yes) 805 (63.3) 117.4 (64.5) 434.7 (71.2)Annual Household income< $35,000 61 (4.8) 35.4 (19.5) 72.7 (11.9)$35,000 - $74,999 228 (17.9) 55.0 (30.2) 171.8 (28.1)$75,000 - $149,999 465 (36.6) 51.7 (28.4) 187.3 (30.7)$150,000+ 346 (27.2) 18.2 (10.0) 68.5 (11.2)No response 172 (13.5) 21.7 (11.9) 110.1 (18.0)Has children living at home (yes) 289 (22.7) 27.2 (14.9) 79.2 (13.0)Transportation Access and BehaviourCar share member (yes) 861 (67.7) 73.4 (40.3) 135.8 (22.3)Access to personal car (yes) 817 (64.2) 129.2 (71.0) 482.6 (79.1)Access to personal bicycle (yes) 888 (69.8) 96.5 (53.0) 347.1 (56.9)Primary mode of transportationDrive 316 (24.8) 76.8 (42.2) 303.6 (49.7)Transit 380 (29.9) 76.3 (41.9) 168.3 (27.6)Walk 302 (23.7) 24.5 (13.5) 119.1 (19.5)Bicycle 274 (21.5) 4.5 (2.5) 19.3 (3.2)Bicycled in the past year, any type (yes) – 96.3 (52.9) 220.3 (36.1)Perceived safety of bicyclingaSafe 1009 (79.3) 116.6 (64.1) 267.1 (43.8)Neither safe nor unsafe 19.7 (10.8) 133.7 (21.9)Dangerous 45.7 (25.1) 209.4 (34.3)Hosford et al. BMC Public Health         (2018) 18:1326 Page 4 of 10Potential users compared to unlikely usersTable 2 shows the results of the logistic regressionmodels for demographic and transportation characteris-tics associated with being a potential user, compared toan unlikely user of the public bicycle share program. Inthe adjusted model, potential users were more likely tobe employed (Odds ratio (OR): 2.04, 95% ConfidenceInterval (CI): 1.14, 3.67), and less likely to be aged 65+compared to respondents aged 18–24 (OR: 0.18, 95% CI:0.06, 0.53). Respondents with incomes less than $35,000had four times the odds of being a potential user com-pared to respondents with incomes over $150,000.Transportation characteristics positively associated withbeing a potential user were having a car share member-ship (OR: 1.78, 95% CI: 1.17, 2.68), having bicycled inthe past year (OR: 2.15, 95% CI: 1.30, 3.54), and usingtransit as a primary mode of transportation compared towalking (OR: 1.90, 95% CI: 1.05, 3.42). Importantly, po-tential users were less likely to own a personal bicyclethan unlikely users (OR: 0.48, 95% CI: 0.29, 0.79), whichsuggests that there is interest for public bicycle shareamong those who may not bicycle regularly because theydo not have easy or immediate access to a bicycle.Motivators and deterrentsMotivators for potential users and deterrents for unlikelyusers are shown in Table 3. Among potential users, healthwas the most commonly selected motivator to using thepublic bicycle share program (selected by 47.0% of poten-tial users). This was followed by motivators related to con-venience, such as having docking stations near one’s home(45.5%) or destination (35.3%) and not owning a personalbicycle (41.0%). Motivators less commonly selected relatedto bicycle features and design.Among those unlikely to use the program, the mostcommon deterrents to using the program were prefer-ring to ride a personal bicycle (46.9%) and the conveni-ence of other transportation options (36.4%) (seeTable 4). This was followed by barriers that pertain tobicycling in general, such as weather (35.8%), traffic(35.1%), and fear of injury from crashes or falls (23.2%).Cost was a deterrent to one-fifth of unlikely users. Otherless common deterrents specific to the bicycle share pro-gram were not having stations near their destination,lack of knowledge about how to use public bicycle share,the weight of the bicycles, and not having enough bicy-cles at docking stations.DiscussionThis study examined the demographic and transporta-tion characteristics of current, potential, and unlikelyusers of the public bicycle share program in Vancouver,Canada, as well as potential motivators and deterrents topublic bicycle share use. Similar to trends observed inother cities [1, 4, 5], current public bicycle share users inVancouver tended to be male, employed, and havehigher educations and incomes as compared tonon-users, and were more likely to use of active modesof transportation. Of the non-users, 23% were potentialusers and 77% were unlikely users. Potential userstended to be younger, have lower incomes, and weremore likely to use public transit for their main mode oftransportation, as compared to current and unlikelyusers. On a number of other sociodemographic andtransportation characteristics, such as employment sta-tus, car share membership, car access, and perceivedsafety of cycling, the profile of potential users was some-where in between current and unlikely users.Table 1 Characteristics of current users and non-users of the Mobi by Shaw Go public bicycle share program in Vancouver, from asub-sample of the 2017 Mobi member survey (n = 1272) and 2017 Vancouver population survey (n = 792) (Continued)Current Users Potential Users Unlikely Usersn = 1272 n = 182 n = 610n (%) Weighted n (%) Weighted n (%)Perception of bicycle share in Vancouverb –Good idea – 170.9 (93.9) 414.8 (68.0)Bad idea – 7.3 (4.0) 145.1 (23.8)Don’t know/Refused – 3.8 (2.1) 50.4 (8.3)Home and work location relative to Mobi by Shaw Go service areacHome and work outside 78 (8.0) 72.2 (41.8) 297.8 (50.3)Home inside 240 (24.8) 42.2 (24.4) 137.4 (23.2)Work inside 145 (15.0) 22.2 (12.8) 63.9 (10.8)Home and work inside 506 (52.2) 36.2 (20.9) 93.0 (15.7)aBased on the survey question, “Do you think that a public bike share program is a good or bad idea for Vancouver?”bBased on the survey question, “Overall, how safe do you think cycling is in Vancouver?”cNumber of respondents with valid home and work locations: current users (n = 969), potential users (n = 173), unlikely users (n = 592). The Mobi by Shaw Goservice area is defined as the area within 500 m of a bicycle share docking station.Hosford et al. BMC Public Health         (2018) 18:1326 Page 5 of 10Table 2 Demographic and transportation characteristics associated with being a ‘potential user’ of the Vancouver public bicycleshare program compared to a ‘unlikely user’, from a sub-sample of the 2017 Vancouver population survey (n = 792)Unadjusted OR(95% CI)Adjusted ORa(95% CI)Sex (ref: Female)Male 1.05 (0.75, 1.47)Age (ref: 18–24 years)25–34 1.64 (0.87, 3.08) 1.31 (0.66, 2.61)35–44 0.98 (0.51, 1.90) 0.96 (0.46, 1.98)45–54 0.53 (0.26, 1.06) 0.61 (0.29, 1.30)55–64 0.52 (0.25, 1.06) 0.68 (0.32, 1.45)65+ 0.10 (0.04, 0.28) 0.18 (0.06, 0.53)Education (ref: High school or less)Post-secondary 0.99 (0.56, 1.75)Graduate post-secondary 1.12 (0.59, 2.14)Employment status (ref: Unemployed/Otherb)Employed 2.99 (1.96, 4.56) 2.04 (1.14, 3.67)Born in Canada (ref = No)Yes 0.73 (0.52, 1.04) 0.69 (0.47, 1.01)Household Income (ref: >$150,000)$75,000 - $149,999 1.04 (0.57, 1.87) 1.12 (0.58, 2.14)$35,000 - $74,999 1.20 (0.66, 2.17) 1.39 (0.72, 2.67)< $35,000 1.83 (0.95, 3.50) 4.08 (1.92, 8.68)No response 0.74 (0.37, 1.48) 1.16 (0.53, 2.55)Has children living at home (ref: No)Yes 1.18 (0.74, 1.87)Carshare member (ref: No)Yes 2.36 (1.66, 3.36) 1.78 (1.17, 2.68)Access to a personal car (ref: No)Yes 0.65 (0.44, 0.94)Access to a personal bicycle (ref: No)Yes 0.85 (0.61, 1.19) 0.48 (0.29, 0.79)Primary mode of transportation (ref: Walk)Transit 2.21 (1.32, 3.69) 1.90 (1.05, 3.42)Bicycle 1.13 (0.38, 3.30) 0.59 (0.19, 1.82)Car 1.23 (0.75, 2.03) 1.69 (0.96, 2.99)Bicycled in the past year, any type (ref: No)Yes 1.99 (1.42, 2.78) 2.15 (1.30, 3.54)Perceived safety of cycling (ref: Unsafe)Neither safe nor unsafe 0.68 (0.38, 1.19) 0.62 (0.32, 1.18)Safe 2.00 (1.36, 2.94) 1.71 (1.11, 2.64)Home and work location relative to Mobi by Shaw Go service area (ref: Home and work outside)Home inside 1.27 (0.82, 1.95)Work inside 1.44 (0.83, 2.47)Home and work inside 1.61 (1.01, 2.56)Missing address 2.06 (0.89, 4.78)aAdjusted OR includes variables retained in multiple logistic regressionbOther includes students and retired respondentsHosford et al. BMC Public Health         (2018) 18:1326 Page 6 of 10As of fall 2017, estimates suggest the proportion of thepopulation that had used the public bicycle share pro-gram is 6.2% [23]. Among those who have not used theprogram, the majority (74%) think that a public bicycleshare is a good idea for Vancouver, and nearly one infour indicated they are likely to use public bicycle sharewithin the next year. This suggests that there isconsiderable opportunity to increase population leveluptake of public bicycle share. The challenge for publicbicycle share operators is translating intention into ac-tion. Intention is an important part of behavior changemodels [24, 25], however similar to other intentionssuch as eating healthier foods or exercising more,intention does not necessarily translate into action with-out the proper conditions or incentive to change, re-ferred to as the ‘intention-behaviour gap’ [26–28]. Socialmarketing is one approach that can help lessen the gapbetween intention and action. This involves understand-ing the potential consumer’s viewpoint and designing aproduct or service to suits their needs [10].The marketing mix, also known as the 4 Ps, are con-sidered the core elements of a social marketing strategy,and include product, price, place, and promotion [29].The product refers to the object or service being offered,and the benefits associated with the product [29]. In thecase of public bicycle share, the product is a servicewhich allows users to rent and return bicycles at dockingstations throughout designated areas of a city (Table 5).Amongst the potential user group, health benefits andhaving stations located near their home and work werethe most commonly cited motivators that would influ-ence them to use public bicycle share. Price refers to theperceived costs of the product or service being offeredand includes both monetary costs and non-monetarycosts, such as time and effort [29]. Our findings showedthat potential users were much more likely to have lowerincomes compared to current users, and that cost wasTable 3 Motivators to bicycle share use among potential users(n = 182), ranked by the number of respondents that selectedeach itemRank Motivators n (weighted) % of total1 For my health 86 47.02 Stations near home 83 45.53 I don’t have my own bicycle 75 41.04 Stations near destination 64 35.35 Cost is inexpensive 53 29.16 For fun 47 25.97 Helmets are provided 45 24.78 Convenience over other modes oftransportation35 19.59 Bicycles have a basket 34 18.610 System is easy to use 33 17.911 Bicycles have lights 33 17.912 Get to ride for free after payingmembership fee32 17.713 Bicycles have gears to help with hills 23 12.714 I like the appearance 9 4.8Table 4 Deterrents to bicycle share use among unlikely users (n = 610), ranked by the number of respondents that selected each itemRank Deterrents n (weighted) % of total1 Prefer own bicycle 286 46.92 Less convenient than other types of transportation 222 36.43 Rain and bad weather 218 35.84 Traffic 214 35.15 Not interested in bicycling 192 31.46 Fear injury from crashes or falls 141 23.27 Cost is too expensive 122 20.18 No stations near home 118 19.39 Health concerns 106 17.310 Destinations are too far to bicycle 96 15.711 Time limits 92 15.112 Steep hills along my route 67 11.013 No stations near destination 58 9.514 I don’t know how to use the system 52 8.515 I don’t like having to wear a helmet 51 8.316 Bicycles are too heavy 35 5.817 No designated or separated bicycle lanes along my route 30 4.818 Not enough public bicycles at docking stations 15 2.4Hosford et al. BMC Public Health         (2018) 18:1326 Page 7 of 10cited as a barrier among 20% of unlikely users. In spring2018, Mobi by Shaw Go announced a one-year pilot tooffer discounted memberships ($20) to low income resi-dents [30]. Continuing this pilot, reducing the cost ofregular memberships, and offering a cheaper single triprate and free trial days could reduce the barrier fornon-users to try public bicycle share. In addition, giventhat potential users were more likely to use transit and be-long to car share programs compared to unlikely users, in-tegrating public bicycle share payment with transit passesand car share memberships could be an effective strategy,and has been done in other cities such as in Montréal andPittsburg [31, 32]. Place refers to where and when theconsumer can access the product or service [29]. Previousstudies have shown that those who live and work in closeproximity to public bicycle share docking stations aremore likely to use the program [13, 14, 33, 34]. Publicbicycle share service areas in many cities tend to dispro-portionately serve higher socioeconomic status neighbour-hoods [35, 36], and Vancouver is no exception [37]. Thismay explain, in part, why current public bicycle shareusers in Vancouver were more likely to be of higher socio-economic status compared to non-users. In addition tostation distribution, public bicycle share uptake isdependent on a city’s efforts in providing cycling infra-structure in the areas where the public bicycle share ser-vice area is located [38]. Other than cost, stationdistribution, and preference for one’s own bicycle, thecommon deterrents to public bicycle share use related tobarriers to bicycling more generally, such as rain and badweather, traffic, lack of interest in bicycling, and fear of in-jury from crashes or falls. This emphasizes that a city’s ef-forts to provide safe bicycle infrastructure and promotebicycling as a transportation option are important for pub-lic bicycle share uptake. Finally, promotion refers to thecommunication and advertising strategies used to pro-mote the product or service [39]. The profile of the poten-tial user group identified in this study and theirmotivators can help inform the development of advertis-ing strategies.Strengths and limitationsThis exploratory study used data from a public bicycleshare member survey and a population-based survey tobetter understand the profiles of current, potential, andunlikely users of a public bicycle share program inVancouver, Canada. The use of a population-based sur-vey allowed us to identify demand for public bicycleshare among non-users at the population level, provid-ing valuable information about who is in the ‘near mar-ket’ for the public bicycle share program and who isunlikely to use it. Our findings can help inform publicbicycle share operators about the importance of stationdistribution, cost, and marketing and outreach effortsfor the success of their program.There are several limitations worth noting. The demo-graphic characteristics of current users reflects those of themembers who completed the Mobi member survey(response rate 29.4%) rather than all members of the publicbicycle share program. Demographic information is not col-lected for all members so we cannot assess thegeneralizability of our sample in terms of demographic char-acteristics, however, survey respondents did have a slightlyhigher frequency of bicycle share use (average of 10.6 tripsper month) as compared to the average Mobi member (7.7trips per month). We did not consider frequency of publicbicycle share use for current or potential users, however, fu-ture studies could stratify users based on their frequency ofuse, or intended frequency of use for potential users.The survey sample in the Vancouver panel survey wasrepresentative of the Vancouver population based on ageand sex, but underrepresented immigrants, and residentswith lower incomes and educations. This is a commonchallenge in surveys. To categorize potential and un-likely users we used a question that asked respondentsto indicate their likelihood of use within the next yeargiven that station locations were accessible to them. Thiscould relate to access at work, home, or other commonplaces visited, however, there may have been differencesin interpretation. We also had small sample size of po-tential users (n = 182), which resulted in wide confidenceintervals in the logistic regression model in some cases.We asked respondents to select all the reasons thatwould influence their decision to use or not use public bi-cycle share, but did not ask them to weight their relativeinfluence. Thus, the most commonly selected factors pre-sented here should not necessarily be conflated with themost important factors to influence behavior change. Forexample, health was the most commonly selected motiv-ator among potential users. Although health may be a de-sired benefit, health on its own is a poor motivator forinfluencing behavior change [40]. Also, respondents maynot have had sufficient knowledge about the program toassess all motivators and deterrents, such as program costor time limits.Table 5 The four “Ps” of social marketing applied to a publicbicycle share programProduct Public bicycle share service, which allows users torent and return bicycles at designated dockingstations throughout a cityPrice Reduce cost of membershipsOffer a single trip pass optionFree trial daysIntegrate payment with transit and car share programsPlace Expand service areaProvide safe bicycle infrastructure in areas where publicbicycle share stations are locatedPromotion Pop-up booths at transit stationsAdvertising on public transitHosford et al. BMC Public Health         (2018) 18:1326 Page 8 of 10Finally, the findings from this study reflect the likeli-hood of public bicycle share use in the Vancouver popu-lation. It is difficult to assess the generalizability of thesefindings to other cities. However, the demographic pro-file of current users in Vancouver is similar to the demo-graphic profile identified in other cities, which couldsuggest that there are also similarities to the profiles ofpotential and unlikely users identified in this study.ConclusionPublic bicycle share programs are widely touted as havingthe potential to reduce the public health burden associ-ated with physical inactivity and also reduce air pollution,greenhouse gas emissions, and motor vehicle traffic. How-ever, public bicycle share programs in many cities, includ-ing Vancouver, tend to appeal to a higher socioeconomicstatus segment of the population that primarily use activemodes of transportation for day to day travel. In order tomeaningfully contribute to shifts towards active and sus-tainable modes of transportation, and to do so equitably,public bicycle share programs need to appeal to a broaderpopulation. Our results suggest there is interest for thepublic bicycle share program among non-users, particu-larly among those who are younger, have lower householdincomes, and use public transit. To reach currently under-represented lower income populations, reducing the costand expanding the service area to lower income neigh-bourhoods are likely to help. Findings from this study canhelp inform targeted marketing and outreach to increasepublic bicycle share uptake in the population.Additional filesAdditional file 1: Question inventory for the 2017 Mobi Member ShawGo User Survey. (PDF 207 kb)Additional file 2: Question inventory for the 2017 Vancouver PublicBike Share Population Survey. (PDF 224 kb)AbbreviationsAIC: Akaike information criterion; CI: Confidence Interval; OR: Odds ratioAcknowledgementsNot applicable.FundingThis work was supported by the City of Vancouver and the CanadianInstitutes for Health Research [Principal Investigator: Meghan Winters,Population Health Intervention Research Grant no. 120515]. The City ofVancouver had input on survey design. Neither funding body played a rolein the analysis, interpretation of data, or writing of the manuscript.Availability of data and materialsThe datasets generated and analyzed during the current study are notpublicly available because participants were assured their data would remainconfidential and would not be shared.Authors’ contributionsKH made substantial contributions to the conception, design, interpretationof data and took lead on drafting and revising the manuscript; MW, SAL, DF,KT, and ST made substantial contributions to the conception, design, andinterpretation of data and were involved in the drafting and revising stage.MW, ST, and KT made substantial contributions to the acquisition of data. Allauthors reviewed and approved the final manuscript.Ethics approval and consent to participateThe Simon Fraser University Research Ethics Board approved all study proceduresand respondents provided written informed consent [certificate: 2012 s0286].Consent for publicationNot applicableCompeting interestsDF is an associate editor of BMC Public Health.Publisher’s NoteSpringer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims inpublished maps and institutional affiliations.Author details1Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive,Burnaby, BC V5A1S6, Canada. 2Centre for Hip Health and Mobility, 2635Laurel Street, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9, Canada. 3Division of Cardiology,Providence Health Care, 1081 Burrard Street, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6, Canada.4School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, Memorial University ofNewfoundland, Physical Education Building, St. John’s, Newfoundland A1C5S7, Canada. 5Department of Community Health and Humanities, Faculty ofMedicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John’s, NewfoundlandA1B 3V6, Canada. 6School of Population and Public Health, University ofBritish Columbia, 2206 East Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z3, Canada.Received: 26 July 2018 Accepted: 21 November 2018References1. 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