Cycling is on the rise in the urban core of many North American cities, but at a standstill in their suburban neighbourhoods. Starting in 2015, four Toronto community organizations asked themselves the question, how can we build bicycle culture beyond the downtown? This question came out of a growing appreciation of the untapped potential for cycling in suburban neighbourhoods. In Toronto’s suburban communities of Etobicoke, Scarborough, and North York, 1.5 million trips made each day are 5 km long or less. At the same time, these communities face a frustrating chicken-and-egg scenario, in which supports for cycling are slow to be implemented because so few people cycle, but people are hesitant to adopt cycling because the supports do not exist.
In our search for better ways to spark cycling adoption in the suburban neighbourhoods, we looked to social psychology research. We took proven strategies for how to encourage and sustain positive behaviour change (such as quitting smoking or reducing energy consumption), and aligned them with cycling interventions that had evidence of success. The result was a four-step model for incubating cycling, with the community bike hub at its centre.
Click on the steps below to find out more.
To learn more, download a copy of Building Bike Culture Beyond Downtown.