A new report from the Mineta Transportation Institute documents the state of public bicycle-sharing programs in the U.S. and Canada. Public Bikesharing in North America: Early Operator and User Understanding focused on IT-based systems which use electronic and wireless communications for bicycle pickup, drop-off, and tracking. Use of credit or debit cards has improved user accountability, while communications technology enables program operators to track bicycles, improve system management, and deter bike theft.
The researchers say that the first IT-based system in North America was Tulsa Townies (OK), which began in 2007 with 96 bikes and four fully automated docking stations. Just five years later, in January 2012, 19 IT-based systems were operating in the U.S. and Canada. Five systems were categorized as state of the art, based in part on their use of GPS tracking and integration of real-time information between transit and bike-sharing. Seventeen of 19 systems used social media to connect with members and 11 have developed system-specific mobile applications.
The research team comprised principal investigator Susan Shaheen, Ph.D., Elliot Martin, Ph.D., Adam Cohen, and Rachel Finson. Download report [PDF].
Photo credit: Susan Mara Bregman