TWEETS
Connect
comments or suggestions?
This form does not yet contain any fields.
    ARCHIVES
    Main | Delta Pedicabs? »
    Tuesday
    Mar062012

    WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT

    Most visitors to the nation’s capital wouldn’t plan on visiting the city’s bustling attractions on a bike -- but they ought to seriously consider Washington’s growing Bikeshare program to do just that. I set out to find out how.

    New York City, as my point of origin on this field research trip, benefits from having so many options for bus transport to Washington, and Bolt Bus does it better than all the rest. The power outlets on the seats, while sometimes cumbersome to use, are a major entertainment provider because they enabled me to power my electronic devices while on the 4 hour trip. It may be of interest to know that Bolt bus is a 50/50 venture between Greyhound Lines and Peter Pan Bus Lines providing service between New York City and other cities in the northeastern United States, utilizing the existing operating authority of Greyhound Lines (although it is run as a distinct business). At $45 for the round trip ticket, this favored my budget and my preference to arrive directly in the center of the city, and transfer from the bus to the metro subway to complete my arrival.

    Next day, I snapped up and out of the historical Adams Morgan neighborhood on a crisp autumn morning. I quickly found a station in a very central location. Most people would agree that 18th Street and Columbus Avenue is hopping with youthful energy and parties, but also construction disruptions and traffic congestion -- and tons of bicyclists. Bikes can navigate these obstacles with ease.

    So, there it was, happy little red bike waiting for me parked under the super-blue weekend sunshine. Rental stations are fully automated and are powered by solar panels, allowing them to be located anywhere space is available. Cautious about cars from experience as a bicyclist in New York, I brought my own helmet. Capital Bikeshare has four membership options. Casual riders may purchase a 24-hour membership ($5) or a 5-day membership ($15) at any bike station. After swiping my credit card at the station's kiosk, I got a code to unlock a bike. Riders may also sign up online for a monthly ($25) or annual ($75) membership; these members are mailed an RFID key that can unlock bikes without the need to enter a code. [1]

    Any rider may take unlimited trips of 30 minutes or less, as measured from the time the bike is withdrawn from a dock to the time it is returned to another one, but are charged for each additional half-hour on a scale that rises from $1.50-6.00. This pricing structure is designed to encourage short hops from place to place, instead of longer leisure trips.[2] If a station is full, riders may use the kiosk to get an additional 15 minutes of free time to return the bike to another station.[3] A replacement fee of $1,000 is charged to the credit card on file if a rented bike is not returned within 24 hours.

     

    Memberships:

    24-hour $5

    5-day $15

    30-day $25

    Annual $75

     

    Pricing for usage fees:

    0-30 minutes FREE

    31-60 minutes +$1.50

    61-90 minutes +$3.00

    Each additional 30 minutes +$6.00


    Since there are over 116 CaBi stations all across DC, it's possible to always have a free trip: just dock your Bike at a nearby station as your 30 minutes are about to run out, then take out the same Bike and go ahead on your journey. But most places in DC will take less than 30 minutes to get to – although I took far longer!

    Capital Bikeshare (also abbreviated CaBi) is a bicycle sharing system that serves Washington, D.C., and Arlington County, Virginia. The stations and bicycles are owned by the participating local governments and operated in a public-private partnership with Alta Bike Share, Inc. With more than 1,100 bicycles operating from 116 stations, the system is one of the largest bike sharing services in the United States.[4] [5]

    From September 2010, when the system opened, through August 2011, Capital Bikeshare enrolled over 16,000 annual members, 1,600 monthly members, and sold over 80,000 daily and weekly passes.[6] The city of Alexandria, Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland approved plans to join the Capital Bikeshare network in 2011. The addition of two new jurisdictions and expansions within the District and Arlington will enlarge the network to a total of 278 stations and 2,700 bikes by the end of 2012.[7]

    Expansion of the network has been a top priority for the program, and as recently as November 7th, 2011, the system has added 36 docks to four of the most popular stations.[8] The docks are the “racks” the bikes secure into.

    The Bikeshare program uses vans to shuttle bikes around so inbound commuters have plenty near their homes in the morning and their offices in the evening. They also remove bikes from destination stations so there are open slots for arriving riders who want to drop off their bikes.

    Mike Garrett is a field operations agent that was on hand doing just that – replenishing an empty station at P Street in the Logan Circle neighborhood where I met him. Mike works with a staff of 30 people to coordinate the logistics of identifying the stations that are depleted of bikes, and the stations that are jammed full of bikes. The goal is to always have a mixture of bikes and empty slots available at any time. The field operators monitor the system entirely via a centralized distribution center, and know at any time the conditions of all 116 stations, though they have metrics in place to predict use rates at key traffic intersections and touristic locations.

    Alta Bike Share vans redistribute bikes among stations and take bikes out of service for maintenance.[9] Each bike dock has a repair button used to report a bike that is damaged or malfunctioning, which also takes the bike out of service. Riders are expected to notify Capital Bikeshare if a bike is unable to dock at a station and are responsible for the rented bike until it has been returned.

    As of May 2011, it cost $41,500 to install a station with 6 docks and $49,300 each for larger stations with 14 docks. Each bicycle costs about $1,000, and the annual operating cost per bike is $1,860.[10]

    Capital Bikeshare uses a system designed by Montreal-based Bixi.[11] [12] The red-colored aluminum unisex bicycles have three gears, an adjustable seat, and a front basket as well as a headlight and twin red taillights that are powered whenever the bicycle is in motion. A wireless data link connects the docks and station kiosk to a central bike-tracking and billing database. Riders can use the Capital Bikeshare website and smartphone applications to see where rental stations are located and how many bikes and empty docks they have.[13]

    With so many venues to visit, Mike ensures adequate Bikeshare availability close to the top attractions in DC. These include:

     

    • Smithsonian’s: National Museum of Natural History (7 million visitors)
    • National Air & Space Museum (6 million visitors)
    • National Museum of American History (3 million visitors)
    • National Zoological Park (3 million visitors
    • Lincoln Memorial (4 million visitors)
    • World War II Memorial (4 million visitors)
    • Vietnam Veterans Memorial (4 million visitors)
    • Korean Memorial (3 million visitors)
    • FDR Memorial (3 million visitors)
    • Rock Creek Park (2 million visitors)

     

    There are more than 40 performing arts/theatre venues with 31,000 total seats in DC. And with more than 50 private tour companies offer nearly 40 regularly scheduled tours, DC is bustling with tourism. But these bikes serve the local community residents as well.[14]

    Capital Bikeshare has grown steadily, which has driven demand for more stations and bikes. Most of the system's users live in or near the city center; stations in the poorer areas in the eastern portion the city are comparatively underused.[15] The National Park Service originally prohibited Capital Bikeshare stations on the property it manages, including large areas such as the National Mall. However, the agency later reversed itself and said that it would work to include new stations in future expansions.[16] In September 2011, Capital Bikeshare announced it had reached 18,000 members and one million rides in its first year of operation, doubling initial expectations.[17]

    Arlington County also announced plans to add 30 stations in fall 2011, primarily along the densely populated corridor between the Rosslyn and Ballston neighborhoods. In September 2011, County officials said they would add 30 more stations in 2012. In October 2011, the neighboring city of Alexandria, Virginia, approved plans to deploy 54 bicycles at six stations in the Old Town and Carlyle neighborhoods in 2012, then add six more stations in 2013. The cost of the first year would be $400,000, including operating costs of $100,440.[18]

    Montgomery County, Maryland, has similarly approved plans to install 20 stations and 200 bikes in the Rockville and Shady Grove areas near Washington Metro stations and high-traffic destinations such as Montgomery College and Rockville Town Center. The expansion will be paid for by a $1.288 million grant from the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board with a $688,000 local match.[19]

    By September 2012, these additions and expansions will bring the network to 278 stations and 2,700 bikes in four jurisdictions, doubling the scale of the system today.[20] Mike Garret from Capital Bikeshare said that the system could be expanded further throughout the D.C. area and plans are in development for as many as 5,000 bicycles within the next few years.

    diagram above illustrates the comparative scale of Washington’s Bikeshare program in 2011 with that of other cities across the world. [infographic design: Fernando Arias]

    screen shots: iPhone Spotify App (2011 edition)

    Looking at the screenshots from my phone in the images above, I was able to really enjoy the biking experience thanks to Spotcycle, the app for iPhone that enabled me to locate bikes or empty slots at nearby stations and monitor my riding time to know how much money I was spending and quickly plan how long I would need to pedal to find an empty bike slot.

    Washington's first bike sharing service, SmartBike DC, debuted in 2008 and consisted of 10 stations with 120 bicycles. The system was the first of its kind in North America.[21] However, SmartBike DC never expanded beyond its initial pilot program, due in part to the expense and difficulty of installing new stations, which required the local utility company to bring electricity to each station.[22] SmartBike DC officially ceased operations in January 2011.[23] But I wouldn’t conclude that solar-powered ticket machines are the sole change needed to attract more riders to the program

    It seemed logical to me that the bike stations could improve. For instance, hand sanitation dispensers, benches to sit and tie one’s shoes, and even restroom access would go a long way to expand the level of service at the stations. The rack modules and ticket machines are not bolted to the ground. This makes it possible for Alta to remove, reposition, and stow away bike stations as needed – especially in those cities that experience weather-inhibiting seasonal climates, like Boston and Montreal. Additionally, when the system expands, the rules of road ridership need to be explained more clearly. For instance, which roads are equipped with safe bike lanes, and which roads are best to avoid due to motorized traffic should be explained to the riders more clearly.

    When returning to New York, I considered how the Bikeshare program about to roll out here in the city will impact road conditions. 600 stations and 10,000 bikes is a huge number of bicycles riding around the city in comparison to the Washington program[24]. It will be either a logistics challenge to coordinate all the various transport modes in a city of over 8 million people, or it will catalyze much-needed transportation incentives like congestion pricing, to allow for more bikes and slower road traffic to coexist.

    Eric Jaffe reports on New York’s Bikeshare station planning for the Atlantic Cities website, stating that:

    The importance of station density boils down to time and money. Users don't want to have to walk far to pick up a bike, and they don't want to drop off a bike too far from their final destination. Part of that's convenience. Another part is getting what they pay for: An annual membership into the NYC Bike Share will be cheaper than a monthly subway card — roughly $100 — but that provides unlimited rides of roughly 30 to 45 minutes in length. (Short-term memberships will be available too.) After the allowed usage time, overage charges will apply.

    Clearly, New York City’s woes in Bikeshare implementation will require that careful integration between existing public transit modes (bus and subway, primarily) and the bike station network. Concerns about safety are paramount. Pedestrians are experiencing improved safety on the streets. In 2000, there were 368 Motor Vehicle deaths. This represents a death rate of 4.6 deaths per 100,000 population. By 2009 this had decreased to 291 deaths and a corresponding death rate of 3.4. Thus, the death rate decreased 26% from 2000 to 2009.[25]

    However, laws that used to protect pedestrians from the risks of motor vehicle accidents are no longer working for New York residents. As Jonathan Nelson, a New York attorney[26] indicates:

    New York’s automobile No-Fault Law was enacted to ensure that insurance companies would pay for legitimate car accident related medical expenses, lost earnings and incidental costs, regardless of who was to blame. The purpose behind the law was to speed compensation without the necessity of long, drawn out litigation over fault and amounts owed.

    The way No-Fault is designed to work in New York is that, regardless of fault, an insurance company is required to pay drivers, passengers and pedestrians up to $50,000.00 for the legitimate economic losses. But in 2002, a revised New York State insurance regulation set several traps to which the consumers of New York can easily fall prey.

    Ultimately, Bikeshare systems are an incredibly timely enhancement to multimodal inner city transit. But ridership risks come at costs far exceeding the initial ridership membership fees. For all the enhancements to quality of life, Bikeshare systems need to initiate stronger ridership rules and enforce existing safety protocols for riders and motorists. This policy-driven action will ensure that Bikeshare systems can coexist with existing transit modes in city centers, especially at a time when urban populations are centralizing and costs of healthcare are rising.

     


    [1] "Capital Bikeshare Pricing". Capital Bikeshare. Retrieved 2010-10-03

    [2] Ashley Halsey III (21 September 2010). "New Bikeshare program provides wheels to casual cyclists in D.C., Arlington". Washington Post. Retrieved 14 April 2011.

    [3] "Capital Bikeshare Pricing". Capital Bikeshare. Retrieved 2010-10-03

    [4] "About Capital Bikeshare". Alta Bike Share, Inc.. Retrieved October 17, 2011.

    [5] Matt Martinez (20 September 2010). "Washington, D.C., launches the nation’s largest bike share program". Grist (magazine). Retrieved 14 April 2011.

    [6] "Membership". CaBi Dashboard. Capital Bikeshare. Retrieved August 20, 2011.

    [7] "Arlington votes (sort of) to expand CaBi; more places likely to follow". TheWashCycle. Retrieved October 17, 2011.

    [8] “Capital Bikeshare expansion underway in D.C. and Arlington”. The Washington Post. Retrieved Nov 14, 2011.

    [9] J. David Goodman (20 September 2010). "Bike Sharing Expands in Washington". New York Times. Retrieved 14 April 2011.

    [10] Michael Lee Pope (12 May 2011). "BikeShare Under Consideration". Alexandria Gazette Packet. Retrieved 14 May 2011.

    [11] Goodman, Christy (23 May 2010). "Expanded bike-sharing program to link D.C., Arlington". The Washington Post. Retrieved 23 February 2011.

    [12] "BIXI System". Public Bike System Company. Retrieved 26 February 2011.

    [13] J. David Goodman (20 September 2010). "Bike Sharing Expands in Washington". New York Times. Retrieved 14 April 2011.

    [14] C., David (28 September 2011). “Capital Bikeshare's First Year Results Exceed Expectations”. Greater Greater Washington. Retrieved 10 November 2011.

    [15] DePillis, Lydia (14 April 2011). "Bikesharing is Bikecaring". Washington City Paper. Retrieved 2011-04-14.

    [16] Craig, Tim (September 6, 2011). "Capital Bikeshare coming to Mall". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 17, 2011.

    [17] "Capital Bikeshare Hits One Million Rides on First Anniversary". Capital Bikeshare. September 20, 2011. Retrieved October 17, 2011.

    [18] "Arlington votes (sort of) to expand CaBi; more places likely to follow". TheWashCycle. Retrieved October 17, 2011.

    [19] "CaBi coming to Rockville and Shady Grove". TheWashCycle. Retrieved October 17, 2011.

    [20] "Arlington votes (sort of) to expand CaBi; more places likely to follow". TheWashCycle. Retrieved October 17, 2011.

    [21] Silverman, Elissa (April 19, 2008). "Bicycle-Sharing Program to Debut". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 16, 2011.

    [22] DePillis, Lydia (14 April 2011). "Bikesharing is Bikecaring". Washington City Paper. Retrieved 2011-04-14.

    [23] Rosiak, Luke (17 December 2010). "Sun sets on SmartBikeDC". The Washington Post. Retrieved 14 April 2011.

    [24] Haughney, Christine (14 September 2011). “New York Chooses Company to Run Bike-Share Program”. The New York Times. Retrieved 01 November 2011.

    [25] http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/vs/motor-vehicle.pdf

    [26] http://www.preferredconsumer.com/legal/articles/new_york_automobile_no_fault_law.html

    References (25)

    References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
    • Response
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT
    • Response
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT
    • Response
      Response: Viviana
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT
    • Response
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT
    • Response
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT
    • Response
      Response: America
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT
    • Response
      Response: Vlad
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT
    • Response
      Response: Ratemyhirecar.Com
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT
    • Response
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT
    • Response
      Response: pubic hair removal
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT
    • Response
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT
    • Response
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT
    • Response
      Response: Ebon Talifarro
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT
    • Response
      Response: senior pastor jobs
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT
    • Response
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT
    • Response
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT
    • Response
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT
    • Response
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT
    • Response
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT
    • Response
      Response: roblo free hack
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT
    • Response
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT
    • Response
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT
    • Response
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT
    • Response
      Response: seo houston
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT
    • Response
      FUTURE TRANSPORT - RESEARCH - WASHINGTON, D.C. | CAPITAL BIKESHARE PROGRAM | 2011 REPORT

    Reader Comments

    There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

    PostPost a New Comment

    Enter your information below to add a new comment.

    My response is on my own website »
    Author Email (optional):
    Author URL (optional):
    Post:
     
    Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>