In Philadelphia, we want to create a bike share system that is used and valued by a true cross section of Philadelphians. The Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia is working with Philadelphia’s Mayor’s Office of Transportation and Utilities, the National Association of City Transportation Officials, People for Bikes and Bicycle Transit Systems to create a socially equitable and replicable bike share model for Philadelphia — and beyond.
Bike share represents an inexpensive, accessible, and healthy new form of public transit. But in many cities, this public transit system is primarily being used by users who have higher incomes, and bike share members do not represent the diversity of the cities in which they operate. Bike share’s benefits are not yet reaching populations who stand to gain the most from a low-cost mobility option.
As we prepare for the launch of Philadelphia’s bike share system in 2015, the Bicycle Coalition is working with the City of Philadelphia to address various barriers to bike share use, to make sure our bike share membership reflects the diversity of our city.
As part of the Better Bike Share Partnership, the Bicycle Coalition will:
- Work with qualitative research experts to conduct a series of focus groups with low-income Philadelphians to better understand barriers and motivators around bike share use.
- Launch a portrait project of the diverse population that already bikes in Philadelphia and, after bike share launches, of people using bike share. (Stay tuned!)
- Manage a station activation program in low-income neighborhoods with access to bike share, starting with Mantua, Point Breeze, and Lower North Philly. We will be hosting community rides, bike-related classes, and other events, and will recruit station ambassadors from these neighborhoods.
- Partner with Neighborhood Bike Works to involve youth and their families in promoting bike share.
Bike share cannot reach its full potential without truly reaching all of the communities in its service area and, conversely, communities can use bike share as a tool to meet their full potential. The Better Bike Share Partnership will benefit low-income Philadelphians and create a stronger and more sustainable bike share system. NACTO and People for Bikes will be developing best practices — many from our work in Philadelphia — to make bike share better and more equitable across the country.
Katie Monroe, the founder of Women Bike PHL, is heading up the Better Bike Share team at the Bicycle Coalition. Jorge Brito, a long-time advocate in the messenger community in Philadelphia, is the Better Bike Share Rides and Volunteer Coordinator and Azephra Hamilton, a Philly native, is the Better Bike Share Community Liaison.