ITE Journal - May 2020 - 18

| inside the industry

Figure 1. Example metrics for various phases of bike share programming. Output measures for events, membership,
and trips are relatively common, but translating those into outcomes for participants is rare.

Programming needs funding. Securing and
maintaining funding was the top challenge for
equity programming cited by cities and operators
in our survey. Funding may be needed to subsidize
riders or memberships, purchase equipment, hire
staff, support community partner organizations,
fund marketing campaigns, and more. Many bike
share systems are already struggling to find revenue
sources to cover both their capital and operating
costs. Grants and foundation-based funding were
the most common sources of funding, especially
for small and mid-sized systems, but these sources
were also generally less than $100,000 USD and
limited in duration, leaving systems to figure out
how to incorporate equity programming into their
operating budgets, seek new sources of external
funding, or scale back programming. As bike share
programs mature, systems will need to grapple
with how to secure sustainable funding streams for
equity work.

Next Steps
The challenges for bike share systems are numerous,
including limited funding, short contracts, and a
changing mobility landscape with the threat of both
the arrival and departure of new mobility companies.
There is an increasing need for coordination between
cities and bike share operators, and the dedication of
resources to making bike share systems equitable. Cities
and operators will also need better data to ensure their
programs are achieving equity targets (or to change
course), and to make the public case for funding such
efforts. Pushing for public resources for bike share
programming runs counter to much of the history of
bike share in America to date, which is often premised
on being "free" for cities, with support coming from
sponsorships. However, that model may not be adequate
if bike share is to become sustainably equitable. itej
18

May 2020

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References
1.	 Ursaki, J. and L. Aultman-Hall. (2016). Quantifying
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5.	 McNeil, Nathan, Jennifer Dill, John MacArthur,
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7.	 McNeil, Nathan, Jennifer Dill, Joseph Broach. Breaking Barriers to Bike Share: Lessons on Bike Share
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ITE Journal - May 2020

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