Designing Cities With An Equity Focus

by Kiran Herbert, Communications Manager

A recap of the Better Bike Share Partnership’s role at the National Association of Transportation Official’s annual conference.

Attendees of the shared micromobility roundtable took a guided ride through downtown Denver with Principal City Planner Stephen Rijo.


Alongside the City of Philadelphia and PeopleForBikes, the National Association of Transportation Officials (NACTO) is one of the core partners in the Better Bike Share Partnership — together, we’re working to increase access to and use of shared micromobility systems in low-income and BIPOC communities. 

Since its inception, BBSP has been working with NACTO to help cities that want to advance equity in shared micromobility through roundtable discussions, articles, and one-on-one conversations. In 2021, we launched our Transportation Justice Fellowship (now in its second year), which was designed to meaningfully invest resources to support and sustain the people of color doing the heavy work of promoting equity in transportation.

Last month, all of our collaborative work converged in Denver for NACTO’s annual Designing Cities Conference. From May 15 to 18, more than 1,000 officials, planners, and practitioners joined forces to advance the state of transportation in cities. BBSP was proud to partner with NACTO on several events throughout the conference — check out our recap below for a high-level overview of what transpired.

The 2022-2023 Transportation Justice Fellows at a lunch with BBSP and NACTO staff.

Transportation Justice Fellows

All 12 of this year’s Transportation Justice Fellows attended the Designing Cities Conference, serving as panel moderators and speakers, presenting their work during the poster showcase, and even hosting an incredible BIPOC Breakfast for more than 100 attendees of color. The latter featured treats from locally-owned BIPOC bakeries, a book raffle with BIPOC titles meant to inspire, and even an area where folks could get a custom poem written for them. 

With the 2022-2023 cohort coming to an end, the conference was not only a prime networking opportunity, but it served as a way for the fellows to see and hear firsthand how cities make decisions, grapple with pressing issues, implement lessons learned, and plan for the future.  It was also a time for the fellows to meet the BBSP team in person and secure their bond with one another — the fellows were so comfortable sharing this space, it was as if they had been meeting in person all along.

Attendees discuss ways to prioritize equity at the 2023 Shared Micromobility Roundtable.

BBSP Shared Micromobility Roundtable 

An annual BBSP and NACTO event, this was the first time the Shared Micromobility Roundtable was held in person since before the pandemic. More than 40 attendees from cities across the country gathered before the conference for a networking dinner to enjoy a locally sourced, organic meal at Denver’s long-standing artist and community space, The Mercury Cafe. The next morning kicked off  the roundtable half-day workshop focused on making shared micromobility more equitable

There were presentations from Boulder, Fort Collins, and Denver, as well as from Lyft, Lime, and the journalist Ali Griswold from Oversharing. Finally, there were group breakouts and a panel discussion from Boston, Pittsburgh, and New York City. Discussion topics included: how to equitably price e-bikes; defining the success of an income-eligible reduced fare option; how to make the most of a dockless system; and what role community engagement should play in a city’s system. In the afternoon, the group embarked on a guided ride through downtown featuring some of Denver’s notable bike infrastructure, led by Principal City Planner Stephen Rijo. 

The BBSP Shared Micromobility Roundtable was a productive session for relationship building and learning about what cities across the country are doing (and how they can do more) when it comes to advancing equity in shared micromobility.

Transportation Justice Fellow Elese Daniel wrote custom poems at the BIPOC breakfast and moderated the “Shared Bikes, Shared Ideas” panel.

Shared Bikes, Shared Ideas: Equitable Community Engagement to Advance Shared Micromobility

Moderated by Transportation Justice fellow Elese Daniel, this session showcased what four vastly different cities — Cincinnati, OH, Portland, OR, Tucson, AZ, and Hartford, CT — are doing when it comes to community engagement and serving historically marginalized communities. Cincinnati and Portland are two of our Living Lab grantees and they each shared their different engagement efforts, including partnering with a homeless shelter and running a prescribe-a-bike program


BBSP Happy Hour

BBSP was proud to host the conference’s only official happy hour, which we held at Latino-owned and operated Raices Brewing Company. Due to the brewery’s prime location along Denver’s South Platte River Trail, many conference attendees opted to take shared micromobility to the venue. Not only was this event well-attended but it was thought-provoking and a lot of fun — it was an incredible opportunity to network with grantees past and present, as well as meet others working to advance equity in transportation.

Biking along the South Platte River Trail.

ractitioners from cities across North America attended NACTO’s Designing Cities conference and BBSP’s presence was felt throughout. As a partnership, it is exactly this kind of convening that helps us reach our goal of giving voice to the people, organizations, and communities that are institutionalizing equity in SMM. We welcome feedback about folks’ experience at NACTO and look forward to future convenings. Look for us this fall in Hamilton, Ontario, at the North American Bike and Scooter Share Association’s annual conference.

The Better Bike Share Partnership is funded by The JPB Foundation as a collaboration between the City of Philadelphia, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), and the PeopleForBikes Foundation to build equitable and replicable bike share systems. Follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, or sign up for our weekly newsletter. Have a question or a story idea? Email