Eliminating Barriers to Bicycling Mode Choice within Minority Populations

Focus Area

Environmental Justice


Community & Cultural Concerns, Environmental Process




Under $99k


1-2 years

Research Idea Scope


1.  Objective

General observations indicate a significant disparity in bicycle usage between the City of Cambridge and the neighborhood of Mattapan/Dorchester section of Boston where bicycle lanes were recently installed.  The objectives of the study are:

– To identify barriers to better usage of these facilities

– Promote better usage of these facilities within minority communities

– Reduced chronic disease rates by increased bike mode shift


2.  Key Tasks

a) Establish base data for mode choice and health data

b) Literature Search

c) User Survey

d) Site Assessments

e) Analyze and Synthesis of Data

f) Clear recommendations on Actions or Outcomes that could increase bicycling usage and the potential impact to lower chronic disease rates

Urgency and Payoff

Public health data are showing increasing health disparities between different demographic groups. These health disparities include an alarming upward increase for chronic disease issues such as hypertension, obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Bicycling has been proven as a travel choice that  can help achieve positive health outcomes and lower chances of chronic disease.  

There is a need to better understand the reasons that lead to the decision to use healthy transportation.  As a Transportation Agency, we seek to provide all our customers with good healthy transportation choices including bicycling which is an underutilized mode choice that is healthy, green and fun.

Suggested By

Catherine Cagle, Massachusetts Department of Transportation, 617-973-7181

[email protected]