Encouraging Cycling at Sunnybrook Hospital

The challenge

Despite offering secure bicycle parking and shower facilities for staff and having an established community of passionate cycle-commuters, our 2016 commuter survey found that Sunnybrook employees needed further cycling support. Our goal was to increase the number of people incorporating cycling into their daily commute during Bike Month and beyond, through the Smart Commute program.

How we helped

We launched an individualized marketing summer cycling campaign that lasted throughout the summer months. We kicked off the project with a Bike to Work Day outreach that incorporated basic cycling information alongside an individualized marketing pledge campaign.

Interested individuals were asked to make a cycling related pledge online or in person at the outreach event. Participants who made their pledge at the outreach event were able to spin a prize wheel to win treats such as water bottles and Bike to Work Day t-shirts.

Individuals who made pledges were sent a short survey to assess current cycling behaviour and provide a benchmark for post-campaign evaluation. The survey also allowed participants to custom order cycling resources such as a bike repair kit, maps, and bike lights to help them achieve their pledge. The personalized cycling packages were hand delivered by staff which allowed for conversations with Sunnybrook employees about cycling.

We plotted cycling routes of Sunnybrook employees on Google Maps and this map was included in a Sunnybrook newsletter so employees could see alternative routes available to them which other colleagues were already using.

Participants also received four email newsletters over the campaign period which included information to help them get started cycling and stay motivated.

Results

The campaign was successful in increasing the number of people incorporating cycling into their daily commute, with a 15% increase in the number of survey respondents who commuted mainly by bicycle and a 7% in those who cycled every day.

The campaign was also successful in helping participants feel more comfortable with cycling. There was a 29% increase in respondents who reported they were very comfortable with cycling and a 67% decrease in respondents reporting they were very uncomfortable with cycling.

The campaign was instrumental in connecting Sunnybrook employees with the cycling resources available to them. The personalized cycling packages and ongoing communications provided respondents with the guidance and support they required to achieve their cycling goals. Survey respondents showed a high level of engagement and enthusiasm in completing their pledges, with 95% of those who had taken a cycling pledge achieving their pledge or still working on it at the time of our post campaign survey.

The summer cycling campaign has made a positive contribution to the cycling community at Sunnybrook and has established a benchmark of individual level support and behaviour change evaluation to help grow future campaigns.