Evaluating Efforts to Improve the Equity of Bike Share Systems

Nathan McNeil, Portland State University

Co-investigators:

Summary:

As bike-sharing systems become increasingly common in American cities, questions about the equity of such systems must be addressed. Bike share has the potential to provide residents a cost effective and healthy means of transportation, but many systems are not serving lower-income and minority populations, possibly due to lower station density in less affluent neighborhoods (Ogilvie & Goodman, 2012), low participation among non-white populations (Virginia Tech, 2012), or other factors. As a means to address these challenges to equity, the Better Bike Share Partnership (BBSP), a collaboration of PeopleForBikes, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), and local partners, is making $900,000 in grant funding available for bike share operators, cities, and local non-profits to increase bike share participation among underserved populations. This research seeks to understand the impacts of these efforts to site bike share stations in low-income and/or communities of color and promote participation through outreach efforts. PeopleForBikes is funding the research team to evaluate efforts in Philadelphia, where BBSP’s inaugural bike share effort is set to launch this spring, which serves as match for this project. This proposal seeks to expand the research to include neighborhoods in Austin, New York (Brooklyn), Chicago, and Washington. We propose surveying residents of specific underserved areas, bike share system users in general, and individuals engaged by outreach efforts to address issues of bike share equity. Surveys will be supplemented with bike share system design and use data along with measures of urban context in our survey areas. The project offers the opportunity to collect robust data about perceptions of bike-sharing among residents of underserved communities, including barriers and incentives to participate, outreach interventions’ success in encouraging system use and awareness, impact of station siting decisions, and value derived by bike share users. This research fits the NITC theme of “livability, incorporating safety and environmental sustainability” well, particularly addressing the emphasis serving all users and examining behavioral decisions behind bicycling. The anticipated outcome of the research is an improved understanding of how to integrate bike share systems into disadvantaged communities to improve travel options and support economic opportunity and community revitalization.

Project Details

Project Type:
Research
Project Status:
In Progress
End Date:
June 30,2017
UTC Grant Cycle:
Natl Round 2
UTC Funding:
$137,477