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A guide to a successful bike sharing program

We’ve seen more and more cities roll out bike-sharing schemes, from Divvy to CitiBike, from Velib to Mejor en Bici. We LOVE bike shares, and we’ve seen them be wild successes and dismal failures.

You know what? There’s a new guide out that can help cities develop programs on the “wild success” side of the coin. The guide was created by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP):

More than 600 cities around the globe have bike share systems, and new systems are starting every year. The largest and most successful systems, in places such as China, Paris, London, and Washington, D.C., have helped to promote cycling as a viable and valued transport option.

This guide evaluates international best practice in bike share, helps to bridge the divide between developing and developed countries’ experiences to provide guidance on planning and implementing a successful bike share system regardless of the location, size, or density of your city.

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Read some highlighst of the guide by visiting this Treehugger page, or download the 152-page PDF guide directly from the ITDP here.

Florida to join the B-Cycle family

Here’s a bit of good news for Floridians: Broward County will unveil their new B-Cycle bike sharing system on December 14th, 2011.

As noted in the South Florida Times,

The program will feature bicycles equipped with computers to track mileage, calories burned and carbon offsets. Riders will be able to monitor their personal fitness, see their contributions to the county’s green efforts and connect with others online at broward.bcycle.com. To check out bikes, residents and tourists must register on that Web site or at bike sharing stations in various locations around the county.

B-cycle is a partnership among Trek Bicycle, Crispin Porter+Bogusky and Hu-mana, which is Broward B-cycle’s presenting sponsor.

Plans for the program reached a high point on Oct. 26, when the Broward County Commission approved an agreement for B-Cycle to manage and operate the local bike sharing program.

The full South Florida Times article can be viewed by clicking here.

There is no indication of how many bikes will be available in the cities of Hollywood, Fort Lauderdale and Pompano Beach, but according to the map on the Broward B-Cycle page, there will be over 20 stations, all within a few miles of the coast. That should help ease congestion in some of the most heavily-populated coastline in the U.S.

I am eager to hear how this goes, and if stations are in good locations…any south Florida readers out there who can help us make heads or tails of the map on the B-Cycle page?

Bike Share Program Coming to NYC

Of all the cities in the United States, the one that seems most likely to have (and need!) a bike-sharing system is New York City…the most densely populated major city we’ve got. With over eight million people crammed into an area around 300 square miles, there’s barely enough room for cars, let alone all those teeming masses of humanity. Bikes DO make a lot of sense there, and a bike-sharing program even more sense.

Good news, though — Alta Bicycle Share, Inc. has been chosen to establish a city-wide (Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn) system of 10000 bikes in 600 stations:

Bike share will offer New Yorkers a new public transportation option for short, one-way trips that is meant to fill gaps with self-service bike stations located every few blocks. Research shows that 40 percent of trips made by residents are under one mile; 54 percent are under two miles, and 67 percent are under three miles.

New Yorkers and visitors will be able to pick up a bike at any station, 24 hours a day, and ride to a drop-off station near their destination. Smartphone apps will allow users to find out about bike and station availability in real-time. The bike share stations will be solar-powered.

Check out the full article by clicking here, and visit Alta Bicycle Share for more information and details on how it’ll all work when it rolls out in 2012.

The crew here at Bikecommuters.com is a huge fan of bicycle-share programs, and we’ve written about BIXI/Nice Ride in Minneapolis, B Cycle in Denver, Bikestation Long Beach in California, a novel bike-sharing concept called SoBi in New York (current operational status unknown), and the granddaddy of them all, Velib in Paris.

A New Spin on Bike-Sharing Schemes

You may have read about the following elsewhere, but it is worth sharing here, too. Our friend Frederick sent a link to an article on Wired’s site about a novel concept in city bike-sharing setups. This one is from a startup in New York City called Social Bicycles (SoBi) and operates without dedicated kiosks or other infrastructure, and at a fraction of the per-bike cost of other bike-sharing schemes like Velib or B-Cycle. And, it has some really cool features that make the setup eminently user-friendly.

From Wired’s article:

SoBi doesn’t use cycle stations; the bikes are parked throughout the city (starting in New York) at regular racks. Bikes could, in fact, be anywhere at any given time, not just at a designated station that could be blocks away. Users can grab any bike that isn’t already reserved and drop it off anywhere. No need to search for a drop-off station.

Like a Zipcar, each SoBi bike has its own “lockbox? (shown above) that communicates wirelessly with SoBi servers via GPS and a cellular receiver (an H-24 module from Motorola). When you make a reservation online or via smartphone, a map displays all the bikes in the area and gives you the option of unlocking a specific bike by clicking on it.

Read the full article by visiting Wired.

If this scheme is successful, such technology and the relative ease of the setup may encourage other cities to try their hand at bike-sharing.

B-Cycle Bike Share Coming to Denver

Heather Stephenson from Edelman Public Relations just sent us a press release concerning the impending rollout of a new bike-share program coming to Denver. It’s called B-Cycle, it’s sponsored in part by Humana and it sounds pretty cool:

…because of your focus on bike commuting and your discussion of a bike-sharing program in Minneapolis [BIXI/Nice Ride Minnesota], I thought you would be interested in the country’s first large-scale citywide bike-sharing system being launched on Earth Day, April 22, in Denver.

The program will launch 500 B-cycles located at 40-50 B-stations around the city, which offer not only a green alternative to cars and cabs, but also encourage healthy behavior.

Why does one of the country’s largest health insurers want to get more people on bikes? Because just three hours of pedaling a week can reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by 50 percent, says the League of American Bicyclists. Humana hopes that B-cycle can be one part of many solutions to America’s obesity and environmental problems, making it easier for people to lead healthier, greener lives.

Each bike is equipped with computers to track mileage, calories burned and carbon offsets. The tracking enables riders to monitor their personal fitness and contributions to the city’s green efforts while also helping to connect B-cycle users with one another at www.Bcycle.com.

If you would like to bring B-cycle to your community, click here to vote.

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Full details on how it works can be found on the B-Cycle home page.