Equity Outcomes and Potential for Better Bike Share

John MacArthur, Portland State University



In a mere ten years, public bike-sharing systems have exploded from operating in a few select European cities to expanding in North America at a pace of nearly two dozen cities per year in recent years. The majority of academic research to date has focused either on the complex logistics of designing and operating systems or else on broad comparisons across systems. Investigations of system users and local impacts have only just begun. As cities plan and launch their systems, a tension has arisen between building dense networks of stations in and around bike friendly urban cores on the one hand, and on focusing systems and stations in neighborhoods where residents may currently be underserved by existing mobility options on the other hand. The former model, which is more likely to attract young professionals already interested in cycling, is often predicated on the assumption that a successful launch and base of ridership must be established before expanding the system to other neighborhoods. However, this approach also risks neglecting communities where residents are most in need of mobility options. As a means of addressing this tension, BBSP--a collaboration among The City of Philadelphia, Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the National Association of City Portland State University: Project Narrative 2 Transportation Officials (NACTO), and PeopleForBikes--will work to bring the benefits of bike share to underserved communities while promoting increased levels of system use. In Philadelphia, funding is being provided not only for outreach but for additional Indego bike share stations in traditionally underserved neighborhoods. This will provide a unique opportunity to study the results of bike share station siting and outreach strategies to create more equitable systems. Careful analysis of the impacts will contribute to a potential new model for more inclusive bike share system design and promotion.

Project Details

Project Type:
Project Status:
In Progress
End Date:
April 30,2017
UTC Grant Cycle:
non-UTC project