Bike Share

Portland’s transit agency, TriMet, has installed Bike & Ride facilities to encourage riders to leave their bike at a transit center instead of bringing it on the bus or train. One of the challenges I’ve pointed out with doing this is that most people need or want to have a bike on both sides of the trip, on the way both to and from a ride on transit.

B-Cycle bike share kiosk in Chicago.

One way to bolster the value of a Bike & Ride is to provide bikes on the destination end of trips on public transit, reducing the need to have your own personal bike available at your destination. Many cities have implemented bike share programs that do just that, and Portland may soon be home to one as well. That would be a great thing to see, not least of all because it would extend the effectiveness of an already great active transit network.

Bike shares are great for tourism and businesses too. When I was in Chicago a couple years back I had a chance to try out their B-Cycle bike share program. Coming from out of town on an airplane (and not yet owning a Brompton), I had no way of bringing my own bike with me. Renting a B-Cycle bicycle allowed me to see (and spend money at) destinations much further from my hotel than I would have been able to see on foot. A cab would have been able to get me to a destination, sure, but I wouldn’t have stopped anywhere along the way, nor would I have had money left over to spend after paying cab fare.

Having bike sharing in mind, it was cool to see a visualization of London’s bike share program. The video below shows trips throughout the day of October 4th, 2010 (the day of the tube strike). It’s interesting to note the different times that spikes in usage occur.

Boris Bikes redux from Sociable Physics on Vimeo.

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