An Inside Look at Active Transportation in Bogotá: A Qualitative Study

in Journal of Physical Activity and Health
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Background:

The health benefits of physical activity are well documented in scientific literature. Bicycling for transportation is a modality of physical activity that people can incorporate easily into their daily lives.

Methods:

A qualitative study using 11 semi-structured individual interviews and 5 focus groups was conducted among 31 male and 13 female adult residents of Bogotá, Colombia in 2006, to explore barriers and facilitators of bicycle use for transportation purposes. People were selected based on socioeconomic status, age, and gender. Thematic analysis complemented with thematic network analysis was used to analyze the data.

Results:

Six main themes emerged from the study: 1) general acknowledgment of individual and collective benefits of bicycle use, 2) built environment conditions were linked with bicycle use, 3) some social factors affect bicycling negatively, 4) people perceived conflicts over public space related to the use of bike-paths, 5) general negative public perception of bicyclists, and 6) gender differences influence patterns of bicycle use.

Conclusion:

The findings from this qualitative study show that various social and physical barriers must be addressed to increase bicycle use as a means of transportation in Bogotá.

Mosquera and Gomez are with the Health Division, FES Foundation, Bogotá, Colombia. Parra is with the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis, MO, and the Prevention Research Center in St. Louis, MO. Sarmiento is with the Dept of Social Medicine, University of the Andes, Bogotá, Colombia. Schmid is with the Dept of Physical Activity and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA. Jacoby is with the Non Communicable Diseases Unit, Pan American Health Organization, Washington, D.C.