Bikesharing is a sustainable and environmentally friendly transportation alternative that targets daily mobility by providing short-term bicycle rentals. Bikesharing programs allow users to access bicycles on an “as-needed” basis. Programs are commonly concentrated in urban settings and provide multiple bike station locations that enable users to pick up and return bicycles to different stations. They operate via unattended bike stations where bicycle reservations, pick-up, and drop-off are self-service. Bikesharing user fees typically cover bicycle purchase and maintenance costs, as well as storage and parking responsibilities (similar to carsharing or short-term auto use).

Having access to multiple bikesharing locations makes short distance travel within participating cities more convenient. Individuals who may not otherwise use bicycles (i.e., tourists or individuals who do not own a bicycle or have access to bicycle storage) are able to enjoy the benefits of cycling without the responsibility of ownership. By making large numbers of bicycles available for use at various locations, bikesharing may increase the number of individuals who use cycling to fulfill daily mobility needs. The ultimate goal of bikesharing is to expand and integrate cycling into transportation systems, so that it can more readily become a daily transportation mode.

The potential benefits of bikesharing include:

·     Increased mobility options;

·     Cost savings from modal shifts;

·     Lower implementation and operational costs (e.g., in contrast to shuttle

·     Reduced traffic congestion;

·     Reduced fuel use;

·     Increased use of public transit and alternative modes (e.g., rail, buses,
      taxis, carsharing, ridesharing, etc.);

·     Increased health benefits; and

·     Greater environmental awareness.

The potential social and environmental benefits of bikesharing have sparked interest worldwide.

·     As of March 2011, there were four continents operating approximately 135
      bikesharing programs in an estimated 160 cities around the world.*

·     As of March 2011, there were over 235,000 bicycles and over 12,800 bike
      stations available worldwide.

·     As of March 2011, there were6 bikesharing programs in North America
      operating with over 9,000 bicycles and over 750 bicycle stations.*

·     As of March 2011, there were approximately 122,000 long-term and
      short-term bikesharing members in North America.

·     As of March 2011, there were over 35 additional bikesharing programs
      planned in 16 nations.

*The authors count one program for each system that spans multiple cities in one country.

United States Bikesharing Operations

Boulder B-Cycle

Broward B-Cycle

Capital Bikeshare

Chicago B-Cycle


Denver B-Cycle

Des Moines B-Cycle

Hawaii B-Cycle


Madison B-Cycle

Nice Ride MN

Omaha B-cycle

San Antonio B-Cycle

Spartanburg B-Cycle

Suncycles Bicycle Sharing Co.




Canadian Bikesharing Operations

BIXI Montreal

BIXI Toronto

BIXI Ottawa/Gatineau




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