Climate Change

Student SoBi Connection

How might we make active transportation more attractive for the McMaster community?

Student Names:
Mostafa Mohammed, Nicole Crimi, Brian Zheng & Daniel Park

Staff Member:
Don Curry (Health Promotion Specialist, Public Health) & Pete Topalovic (Project Manager – Transportation Demand Management, Public Works)

Sean Park

Course and Department:
Health Science 4ID3, McMaster Health Leadership Academy, McMaster University


Partner: SoBi Hamilton

Sobi bikes prepared to be moved on McMaster’s central campus

Sobi bikes prepared to be moved on McMaster’s central campus

While there are numerous benefits to active transportation methods, including being physically active, increasing social interactions, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a large portion of Hamiltonians are utilizing non-active transportation methods when travelling less that 1 kilometer distances. For years now, McMaster students have been provided with an annual HSR bus pass to utilize for transportation within the city, and since SoBi Hamilton, the local bike share program, was launched two years ago, there has not been significant ridership from McMaster students. This is a problem considering SoBi is physically well-connected in the McMaster community, offers flexible membership options, and has significant benefits as an active transportation option.

Students Mostafa, Nicole, Brian and Daniel consulted community stakeholders and collaborated with other teams to conduct research on why fewer students use active transportation. They then developed areas of focus and problems to tackle, as well as potential approaches and a plan of action. Finally developed an intervention to run a student referendum in January 2018 to streamline the account creation and payment process for undergraduate students.

Next, the students will conduct primary research through surveys and prototypes to support the referendum or identify stronger proposals. They will do this by consulting students to determine the effectiveness of potential solutions and identify strengths and weaknesses in order to strengthen our project. Some of the reccomendations they had were: providing a SoBi trial for students at McMaster or trial the prototype in collaboration with another team and pass it through political referendum at McMaster University

We were surprised by the limited interventions provided by the university in order to encourage active transportation, as well as the frequency of short, inactive trips. We were impressed by the malleability and success of SoBi and the potential it holds for expansion within our community.