The Better Bike Share Partnership is a collaboration funded by The JPB Foundation to increase access to and use of shared micromobility systems in low-income and BIPOC communities. The partners include The City of Philadelphia, the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), and PeopleForBikes. Initially funded in 2014 for a three-year period, The JPB Foundation renewed funding in 2017 for an additional two years and supported a bridge grant of one year in 2019 to move the program from Philadelphia to PeopleForBikes. In 2020, funding was renewed for an additional three years!
The initial Better Bike Share Partnership work focused on understanding the barriers to the use of bike share in low-income and communities of color, developing and disseminating strategies to address those barriers, collecting data to assess change, and working to institutionalize successful approaches.
The City of Philadelphia, which launched its Indego bike share system in April 2015, used this funding to install 20 stations in underserved neighborhoods, develop a cash payment option, create a discounted pass program, and implement marketing, education, and outreach programs focusing on low-income Philadelphians. The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia joined as a key partner for providing bicycle education in the city.
NACTO developed resources for station siting and data collection and published a series of Practitioners Papers, while PeopleForBikes administered Research and Challenge Grants and oversaw storytelling and communications for the partnership. The partners also collectively organized and hosted the national Better Bike Share Conference in Philadelphia in 2016.
In its second phase, BBSP continued the initial work with a revised focus on refining and widely sharing best practices, helping cities and systems identify and address the structural racism that may hinder efforts, and embedding the strategies and approaches that enable effective engagement in underserved communities throughout bike share and transportation. From 2017 to 2019, BBSP issued an additional round of Challenge Grants and two Research Grants, along with small grants to fund short interventions and time-limited events to help people learn about and try out bike share in their communities. In September 2018, BBSP partnered with the North American Bikeshare Association (NABSA) to host a joint conference in Portland, OR.
With a renewal of funding for three years in 2020, BBSP launched two new initiatives:
- Living Lab program: Five cities, including Philadelphia, will receive funding over the course of two-and-a-half years to take a deep dive into addressing a barrier or capitalizing on an opportunity to make the use of shared micromobility easier, safer, and more accessible in BIPOC communities. Support will include baseline and follow-up assessments to measure change over time, ongoing technical assistance and support, travel and conference stipends, and widespread dissemination of best practices developed.
- Fellowship program: Two cohorts of 8-12 participants will engage in professional, personal, and network development to support and expand the diversity of the transportation and shared micromobility field.
In 2023, BBSP was awarded another three-year grant — our fifth since launch — to continue our work of making shared micromobility more equitable. In the years ahead, we will be facilitating another round of Living Lab grants, as well as additional iterations of the Transportation Justice Fellowship.
BBSP will continue to share the stories of those working to increase equity in shared micromobility, disseminate ideas, strategies, and best practices from the field, and elevate the voices of those who have been traditionally underrepresented in transportation decision-making.