Climate change and physical activity: Estimated impacts of ambient temperatures on bikeshare usage in new york city

Alexandra K. Heaney, Daniel Carrión, Katrin Burkart, Corey Lesk, Darby Jack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Physical activity is one of the best disease prevention strategies, and it is influenced by environmental factors such as temperature. OBJECTIVES: We aimed to illuminate the relation between ambient temperature and bikeshare usage and to project how climate change-induced increasing ambient temperatures may influence active transportation in New York City. METHODS: The analysis leverages Citi Bike® bikeshare data to estimate participation in outdoor bicycling in New York City. Exposure–response functions are estimated for the relation between daily temperature and bike usage from 2013 to 2017. The estimated exposure–response relation is combined with temperature outputs from 21 climate models (run with emissions scenarios RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) to explore how climate change may influence future bike utilization. RESULTS: Estimated daily hours and distance ridden significantly increased as temperatures increased, but then declined at temperatures above 26–28°C. Bike usage may increase by up to 3.1% by 2070 due to climate change. Future ridership increases during the winter, spring, and fall may more than offset future declines in summer ridership. DISCUSSION: Evidence suggesting nonlinear impacts of rising temperatures on health-promoting bicycle ridership demonstrates how challenging it is to anticipate the health consequences of climate change. We project increases in bicycling by mid-century in NYC, but this trend may reverse as temperatures continue to rise further into the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)037002-1-037002-10
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


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