Evaluation of Participation, Physical Activity and Cost of an Open Streets Event in Los Angeles

Published in: Preventive Medicine, 2016

Posted on on June 30, 2016

by Deborah A. Cohen, Bing Han, Kathryn Pitkin Derose, Stephanie Williamson, Aaron Paley, Christina Batteate

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Physical activity is beneficial for health, but there are limited opportunities in urban areas to safely access public streets for traffic-free cycling, skating or walking. Ciclovías are open streets programs that close major roads to motor vehicles so they can be exclusively used by bicyclists and pedestrians. We estimated participation in one Los Angeles Ciclovía event (CicLAvia) using intercept surveys and 14 surveillance cameras which were placed along the 6-mile route in April 2014. We also applied estimates of the distance and speed traveled from the use of GPS data acquired from subsequent CicLAvia events. CicLAvia attracted between 37,700 and 53,950 active participants generating 176,500 to 263,000 MET-hours of energy expenditure, at an estimated cost borne by tax dollars of $1.29 to $1.91 per MET-hour.Among participants, 37% had never previously participated in CicLAvia, but 40% of individuals said that if they were not at CicLAvia they would have been physically active elsewhere and 45% would have been sedentary. Given its large reach, it makes sense to increase the frequency of Ciclovías to occur more than a few times a year to promote population health.

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