Significant research has gone into understanding the relationships between different urban transportation options and whether they support or compete with each other. It seems reasonable to think ride-hailing services like Uber might compete with bike sharing in urban areas, but findings from a recent study in Budapest suggest the opposite.
On June 18, the Madison, WI, bikesharing system became the first in the U.S. to switch its entire fleet to electric pedal-assist bikes, although other cities have been adding e-bikes to their fleet for several years. Results from a comparison of e-bike vs. standard bike usage show pedal-assist bikes may be the key to increasing bike mode share, especially as part of a city bikesharing program. In addition, recent studies also show that we are still getting plenty of exercise, even when getting help from the electric motor.
Bike sharing—both docked and undocked, manual and electric-assist—plus kick and electric scooters have become commonplace in cities across the U.S. But best practices are still emerging, and cities are often not sure if these new micromobility devices will bring positive or negative consequences to their transportation system and neighborhoods. The National League of Cities has provided a history of the rise of micromobility, a guide for what cities should think about as they move forward with regulation and policy, and finally case studies from across the country.
Increasing bike share usage and improving first- and last-mile connections are the goals of Healthy Ride, Pittsburgh’s updated bike share program. It is receiving an update thanks to its partnership with Port Authority, the city’s transit authority. Healthy Ride 2.0 lets users utilize their transit card to access free, unlimited bike share.
Despite the fact that the city pulled funding for the Pronto bikeshare system this spring, leading the system to shut down, Seattle might not have to wait long to once again have bikesharing. Several companies have expressed interest in moving into the city, but this time, the systems will be “dockless,” i.e. there won’t be fixed stations where bikes will be picked up and returned. The new systems also will be privately funded and run.
When bike sharing first began, many commentators and critics expressed concern that shared bicycle systems would lead to high crash and injury rates. Yet the injury and overall crash rate for bike share use has been extremely low. The researchers at the Mineta Transportation Institute examined why this is so.
This reference guide is intended to provide government, business and community leaders with an introduction to shared-use mobility and help prepare them to address the rapid changes currently taking place in cities across the nation.
The Seattle Department of Transportation is proposing to take over Pronto, the year-old non-profit bicycle-sharing system, in order to better integrate it with the transit system and invest in a significant expansion. No one model is right for every location, as some systems are geared more toward visitors or recreation, while others are geared toward integration with transit and transportation demand management. But Seattle’s move is a signal that SDOT feels transportation for residents and employees is their primary goal.
Bikes shares, which now offer expanded transportation options in cities around the nation, have also tested those cities’ abilities to serve their communities equitably. The placement and pricing of these systems are often barriers for low-income communities. Philadelphia’s new system, however, while not a perfect example, improves upon its predecessors and offers important lessons in equitable transportation provision.
The question of whether public bike share is helping transit systems or taking a bite out of ridership has been on many transit planners’ minds. The answer that is emerging seems to be that both cases can be true depending on the situation, but that, overall, bike share helps support and improve transit operations.