Tag Archives: bike-share

Should Transit Agencies Manage Micro-mobility?

Micro-mobility share has traditionally been managed by municipalities, campuses, or the agencies that brought it into a system. But one expert writes things like bike-share should be managed by transit agencies, and some are beginning to move in that direction.

David Zipper, visiting fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Taubman Center for State and Local Government, writes that bike-share is a natural fit for transit agencies, which have begun seeing themselves as greater mobility providers, particularly since the onset of COVID-19.

“In many ways transit agencies are better equipped to manage bikeshare than cities. Transit staff have much more experience operating and maintaining fleets, for instance. They can also more easily integrate bikeshare into their own stations to simplify intermodal transfers — solving transit’s pesky ‘first-mile problem’ of reaching a station—and allow riders to book a multimodal trip,” he writes at Bloomberg CityLab.

Transit agencies, he says, are perfectly matched to managing bike-share and micro-mobility. Read more here.

Mobility and Societal Considerations: What’s Happening?

More people than ever are enjoying the convenience of shared-mobility services: transportation network companies (TNCs–Uber, Lyft, etc.), bike-share, scooter-share, and other easy ways to get around. Eric Haggett, senior associate with DESMAN and a member of IPMI’s Planning, Design, & Construction Committee, found himself pondering this recently and wondered if there isn’t more to it all than meets the eye:

  • While there are real and potential benefits to society of increasing mobility options, how do we ensure these benefits are available to everyone?
  • Do we care if these options are not available to some groups?
  • If the trend in society is toward mobility-as-a-service, what happens to the segment of society that can’t afford those services or are not physically capable of using them? Will this be yet another way in which the “haves” separate themselves from the “have nots”?

In this month’s The Parking Professional, Haggett breaks down these concerns along with others. How will underbanked or unbanked people use these systems? What about disabled people? And what is our industry’s responsibility, especially while mobility is young?

It’s a great, thought-provoking read: check it out here. And then share your thoughts on Forum: Are these challenges ones our industry should address? And how?

Bringing Bike-share to Underserved Populations: A Case Study

By David Sorrell, MOL

About 10 years ago, I received my undergrad from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill., about an hour west of Chicago. I was one of many without a car and getting around town, especially nights and weekends, was especially difficult. At the same time, I didn’t think the mobility spectrum would go beyond personal vehicles.

Fast-forward 10 years: The mobility spectrum has changed drastically. Personal travel has started to shift to more shared modes of travel. Cars, bikes, and even scooters can be accessed through a card, a cell phone, or even a fob. This has made access a lot more easier, but many people, including students, are left out of the equation because of where they live or their ability to afford and pay for such services.

When I took over the TDM program at UC Berkeley in 2017, I was presented with an opportunity to bridge that divide. Our regional bike-share network, FordGoBike (powered by Lyft/Motivate), (re)launched from the Bay Area Bike Share pilot and expand to five cities. If you happen to take a bike in Berkeley, you can opt to ride it to Emeryville or Oakland (adjacent cities); with the same membership, you can also access BikeShare stations in San Francisco and San Jose.

There’s an effort reach areas known as “communities of concern,” the Metropolitian Transportation Commission’s identified areas of low-income and minority populations. Ford GoBike provided low-income memberships to those who qualify (a $149 yearly membership for $5 the first year). I received a grant to provide qualified students (those with Pell and DREAM grants) the $5 fee and as a result, free bike-share.

Students who don’t qualify for this awesome program aren’t left out. The same grant opportunity offers all students a monthly discount.

Cal is one of the first colleges in the U.S. to offer such an exciting partnership and more than 1,000 students have taken advantage of it. Their trips replace vehicular modes including Uber and Lyft (no irony there). Plus, by communicating these programs to our Educational Opportunity Program students—many of whom are minority, low-income, first-generation, parents, active military— these groups can embrace bike-share as a program specifically for them. Once they make six figures, they can make bike-share part of their daily lives.

It’s important to link my experience as a broke college student with very limited forms of mobility beyond rollerblades and a roommate with a car with being able to offer students an opportunity to go further, faster, affordably.

David Sorrell, MOL, is transportation demand management administrator at UC Berkeley. He will present on this topic at the 2019 IPMI Conference & Expo, June 9-12 in Anaheim, Calif. For more information and to register, click here.


New Model Brings Shared Micro-mobility to Small Communities

Micro-mobility can be tough to bring to smaller or economically challenged communities, whose populations may not use shared bikes or scooters enough to generate providers’ minimum required monthly per-ride charges. But a startup with a new model is emerging as a possible solution.

Koloni, a new provider of shared bikes, scooters, and even sports equipment, charges communities $35 per-bike, per-month rather than using a per-ride fee model. The towns then choose their own per-use rates  and offer users an app, just like the bigger companies. The different model circumvents larger companies’ complaints that low ridership doesn’t justify the cost to keep cycles in those areas, where they sometimes launch and quickly leave.

Kolani says it’s operating in about a dozen towns, including some Midwest cities whose harsh winter weather discourages micro-mobility use for months at a time–which has discouraged other operators from launching.

Read the whole story here.


Are E-scooters Here to Stay?

By L. Dennis Burns, CAPP

Mobility Lab has referred to 2018 as the Year of the Curb. One big reason for this was the rapid and broad emergence of dockless e-scooters. In the January 8 issue of Mobility Lab Express, Director Paul Mackie reflects on everything we know about scooters to predict their staying power—and highlights important questions for future research.

“The exploding popularity of scooters is reason enough to research them. Dockless bike-share systems barely started to be viewed as legitimate transit options in the public’s perception when, all of a sudden, scooters arrived and, in many cities, completely replaced dockless bikes almost overnight,” he writes.

“It’s difficult to predict whether scooters are here to stay. But not for lack of trying by transportation journalists. Scooters are still so new that the lack of research on their popularity makes their staying power a guessing game. As far back as July, Populus released a report finding that most people like dockless e-scooters—including women, who have a slightly more positive perception of them than men. But, besides that report, there’s little academic research on why scooters have taken cities across the country by storm.”

The article goes on to review the early success of Arlington, Va.’s scooter pilot program and explores other topic areas such as:

  • How many options are too many options?
  • Are shared scooters priced for optimal success?
  • Long-held perceptions need to change.
  • Transit will be the big winner if cities do scooters right.

Read the full story here.

L. Dennis Burns, CAPP, is regional vice president of Kimley-Horn.

L.A. Metro Unveils Multi-mode Service

The Los Angeles Metro has added bike-share options to its Transit Access Pass (TAP) card accounts and plans to branch out to scooter-share, transportation network company (TNC) options, and even reserving a parking space with the card in the not-too-distant future.

TAP card users can reserve a bike at 90 train stations in the program, which was designed to let commuters move seamlessly from train to bike to travel their last mile or beyond. With the new program, L.A. joins several other major metro areas, including Chicago, Ill., and Portland, Ore., to add different mobility options to systems that have traditionally been train-only. L.A. Metro officials say they’re in talks with about nine other mobility providers to add those systems to the TAP card, and they’re unveiling an app next spring to pull it all together into a mobile-device-based system.

Read the whole story here. 

Pedal-powered Shared Bikes: Extinct Already?

That might have been fast: About a year after dockless bike-share started making headlines, many cities and suppliers are moving away from them, shifting their fleets to dockless e-bikes or scooters instead.

Dockless pedal bikes have all but been replaced in Washington, D.C.; Seattle; Chicago; and Dallas; and Boston ditched theirs before they even hit the streets, deciding to go with e-scooters instead. Dockless bike companies say it’s a simple case of supply and demand, especially in cities that cap the number of shared bikes that can be on the streets. Customers simply prefer getting a battery-assisted boost.

Read the whole story here and let us know in the blog comments–what’s happening near you?

No Time Like the Present

By Casey Jones, CAPP

We live in exciting transportation times, where the pace of innovation, creativity, and effort by the technology powerhouses such as Google and Amazon are at a breakneck pace. In places large and small, on college campuses, at shopping malls, and at the airports we frequent, we’re seeing a surge of car-share, bike-share, and now shooter-share offerings that previously seemed unimaginable. But with every new technology and innovation there are unintended consequences–often positive but sometimes negative–that are a necessary and expected outcome of progress.

In our industry, we’re seeing this play out each day. Take car-share for example. New research reported in StreetsBlog NYC by transportation analyst Bruce Schaller recently revealed that 70 percent of trips by transportation network companies (TNCs) are occurring in nine major metropolitan areas, adding 5.7 billion vehicle miles traveled (VMT) and adding still more congestion to the places already overwhelmed by traffic jams, pollution, and growing commute times. What’s more surprising and alarming is the impact of car-share trips on alternatives to driving. Schaller’s research shows that the bulk of TNC trips–60 percent–either replace transit, biking, and walking, or would not have been made without the availability of TNCs. The remaining 40 percent of trip displacement is split evenly between personal vehicle trips and trips previously accommodated by taxis.

The stakes are high for cities to address congestion, safety, pollution, and the viability of critical public transportation systems, and if TNCs wish to remain viable, they cannot compound the challenges cities face. Municipal government bodies must act now to put in place policies and management strategies to accommodate emerging shared-use transportation services in a manner that reduces their adverse impacts.

Casey Jones, CAPP, is vice president of TimHaahs.

Boosting Bike-Share in NOLA

New Orleans, La., jumped on the bike-share bandwagon just about a year ago, and while their blue shared bikes are a common enough sight downtown, lots of people haven’t tried them yet. So the city’s teamed up with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of  Louisiana to get potential riders to try their blue bikes for the best price possible–free.

City residents can try its Blue Bikes program for one hour every day in September for free. All they have to do is sign up. Current subscribers also received codes for a free hour per day, and everyone can ride for 13 cents per hour when their free time runs out.

Will the free promotion boost bike-share in New Orleans? Time will tell. Check out the whole story here. 

Dockless Bikes No Longer Free-Range in D.C.

In a bit of trend-bucking, Washington, D.C., is extending its dockless bike and scooter pilot program, but there’s a catch: Dockless bike riders will have to lock their rides to something when they reach their destinations.

Dockless bikes will be required to be left locked to bike racks or street signs when not being used under new rules rolled out by the city. That means the bike companies will re-write their rules to require locking. But with more companies, including Lime, exiting the bike market in favor of e-scooters, some say the new rules won’t have much of an effect.

City officials say the locking requirements will address sidewalk-clutter issues. Users say they’re not big fans. Read the whole story here.