Encouraging Equitable Access to Public Bikesharing Systems

Somewhere in the Blacksburg-to-Arlington I-81 logistics chain, a cardboard tube is being used by a warehouse worker to playfully thwack the noggins of co-workers. That cardboard tube might still contain my diploma. Or maybe a past-due notice on my library fines.

I’m getting this degree (hopefully) because I cranked out this paper, “Encouraging Equitable Access to Public Bikesharing Systems.” As I described in my last post, I fired off a survey to bikesharing operators, and received twenty responses describing the types and status of programs to lower access barriers in the following broad categories:

  • Station Siting
  • Financial Assistance
  • Safe Places to Ride
  • Membership Media
  • Community-Specific Marketing and Outreach
  • Overcoming Bicycling Barriers
  • Providing Economic Contribution to Communities

What you will find in the paper:

  • A snapshot of how many bikesharing systems have, are planning to, or have not deployed programs to address barriers to equity in each of those categories.
  • A few highlights of notable examples in each of the categories.
  • Some basic statistics and characteristics for each responding system
  • Some analyses of how those system characteristics influence their adoption of programs to lower access barriers.
  • Full responses from bikesharing system managers in the appendices.
  • Many many caveats.

What you will not find in the paper:

  • Any evaluation of the effectiveness of these programs.
  • Any judgment on folks doing “good” or “bad.”
  • Details and specifics on programs from all of the systems. Respondents were given free-form opportunities to describe their programs, and as expected, a variable level of detail was provided.
  • Any easy answers.

If there is any one conclusion to take from this report, it is that providing equitable access to bikesharing systems is hard, and no one claims that they have figured it out.  At best, this report will hopefully help systems and their stakeholders get some ideas of what is possible, and we can begin rolling toward highly inclusive bikesharing systems in a more structured way.

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One Response to Encouraging Equitable Access to Public Bikesharing Systems

  1. Pingback: Show Me the Data! or Stuff I’ve Read About Vélib’, part 4 of 4 | An Urbanist in Paris

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