Do health benefits outweigh the costs of mass recreational programs? An economic analysis of four Ciclovía programs

J Urban Health. 2012 Feb;89(1):153-70. doi: 10.1007/s11524-011-9628-8.


One promising public health intervention for promoting physical activity is the Ciclovía program. The Ciclovía is a regular multisectorial community-based program in which streets are temporarily closed for motorized transport, allowing exclusive access to individuals for recreational activities and physical activity. The objective of this study was to conduct an analysis of the cost-benefit ratios of physical activity of the Ciclovía programs of Bogotá and Medellín in Colombia, Guadalajara in México, and San Francisco in the U.S.A. The data of the four programs were obtained from program directors and local surveys. The annual cost per capita of the programs was: U.S. $6.0 for Bogotá, U.S. $23.4 for Medellín, U.S. $6.5 for Guadalajara, and U.S. $70.5 for San Francisco. The cost-benefit ratio for health benefit from physical activity was 3.23-4.26 for Bogotá, 1.83 for Medellín, 1.02-1.23 for Guadalajara, and 2.32 for San Francisco. For the program of Bogotá, the cost-benefit ratio was more sensitive to the prevalence of physically active bicyclists; for Guadalajara, the cost-benefit ratio was more sensitive to user costs; and for the programs of Medellín and San Francisco, the cost-benefit ratios were more sensitive to operational costs. From a public health perspective for promoting physical activity, these Ciclovía programs are cost beneficial.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Colombia
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis / methods
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Health Promotion / economics*
  • Health Promotion / methods*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Models, Statistical
  • Public Health
  • Recreation / economics*
  • San Francisco
  • Urban Population