Bike sharing services, debuted in the United States in 2010, provide bicycles for a daily, monthly, annual, or trip-based fee. Traditionally, bike sharing systems have been self-serve station-based, but more currently, a growing proportion of systems now have bikes with built-in technology to provide flexible, “dockless” locations for more convenience and wider range of access. Some bike share systems also include electric-assist bicycles in their fleet.

Bike share is recognized as an option for first and/or last mile transit connections, and many are advocating for bike share to be considered as a mass transit option. In addition to improving connections between transit and bike share, several systems across the United States are working to lower the barriers of access. Strategies for encouraging equitable bike share include improving access in underserved areas, offering cash payment options, hiring community “champions” to improve outreach, and subsidizing rates. Most United States bike share systems are funded through a combination of Federal grants, private donations, and sponsorships.

Resources

National Association of City Transportation Officials Bike Share Initiative provides best practice guidance on a variety of bike share topics and reports on the state of bike sharing in the United States.

Better Bike Share Partnership focuses on sharing best practices for building more equitable bike share systems for replication in other cities.

Evaluating Efforts to Improve the Equity of Bike Share Systems examines equity from three different perspectives: system owners, residents, and bike share users.

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Examples

How to Build a Thriving, Equitable Bike Share System shows how different cities are implementing and operating systems in a more equitable way.

Regional Bike Share Implementation Plan for Los Angeles County includes business plan recommendations for a regional system, a readiness analysis, and a station siting analysis.

Indego includes a community ambassador program and electric pedal-assist bikes for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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