6 bike share cities you should watch (because we just gave them grant money to focus on equity)

by April Corbin, PeopleForBikes equity writer


Equity in bike share isn’t going to happen on its own.

Innovators will have to experiment with strategies and efforts in order to find best practices. Luckily, there are at least half a dozen cities in the United States ready to do this.

We would know. The Better Bike Share Partnership announced today that it has awarded nearly $375,000 in grants to bike share operators and community organizations that are working to make bike share programs more equitable. The Partnership has also funded an academic research team that will look at data and equity outcomes in Philadelphia, which launched their bike share system Indego in late April.

This first round of grant money is part of $900,000 that The JPB Foundation-funded Better Bike Share Partnership will award over the course of three years.

We will be reporting more about these projects on this blog in the future,so stay tuned,but for now here are the details:

Austin Bike Share Equity Project: $50,000
Austin, TX
Austin B-cycle will use this grant award to address barriers of cost, safety, comfort with bicycling, and language through a bilingual outreach and education campaign along with subsidized membership and cash payment options. A report with best practices on implementing a fully bilingual bike share system is one key deliverable of this project.

Boston Bikes Hubway Equity Project: $51,760
Boston, MA
Boston Bikes will build on their successful membership subsidy program and Prescribe-a-Bike collaboration with the Boston Medical Center to reach more diverse city residents with the help of this grant funding. Expansion of these two programs will join with plans to understand, reinforce and replicate the system’s best referral sources, align with other Boston Bikes programs, and develop more effective peer marketing tools through storytelling.

citibike at rackBuilding Up Bike Share in Bedford Stuyvesant: $75,000
Brooklyn, NY
The Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation (Restoration) will capitalize on Citi Bike’s addition of 26 stations to their neighborhood with several targeted interventions to increase use. Restoration will focus their grant funding on tailored community outreach, education about riding bicycles and using bike share, membership promotion campaigns, and integration with other community services to introduce more Bedford-Stuyvesant residents to bike share.

Capital Bikeshare Outreach Resources for Community Organizations: $25,000
Washington, DC
The District of Columbia’s Department of Transportation (DOT) will strengthen and expand its network of local community service organizations as ambassadors for Capital Bikeshare with this grant award. In addition to initiating partnerships and developing best practices based on previous community partner experiences, the DOT will also create resources including a training curriculum and manual, multi-lingual demonstration video on how to use bike share, new member kits, and an ambassador network that links and supports community partners.

Charlotte B-cycle Free Wheelin’ Fridays: $20,000
Charlotte, NC
Charlotte B-cycle is working with an extensive roster of community partners to help people from neighborhoods across the city try using bike share for their Friday morning commutes. This targeted program will use experienced riders, incentives, and origination points in communities with less bike share use to boost ridership.

Divvy for Everyone: $75,000
Chicago, IL
The Chicago Department of Transportation (DOT) is using their award and match funding from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois to implement a citywide program of subsidized memberships and facilitated enrollment through the Local Initiatives Support Coalition (LISC) – Centers for Working Families. Chicago DOT will also partner with Slow Roll Chicago on targeted outreach, education and engagement in the Southside neighborhood of Bronzeville along with general outreach and engagement citywide.

Equity Outcomes and Potential for Better Bike Share: $74,986
Portland, OR
Researchers at Portland State University will collect and examine data such as perceptions of bike share, barriers to use, success of specific interventions to increase use, and the impact of station siting decisions in Philadelphia’s Indego Bike Share System. The key deliverable is a report that will help new and existing bike share systems identify and implement interventions that will help them reach and engage more riders.

The Better Bike Share Partnership is a JPB Foundation-funded collaboration between the City of Philadelphia, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and the PeopleForBikes Foundation to build equitable and replicable bike share systems. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or sign up for our weekly newsletter. Story tip? Write april@peopleforbikes.org