Shifting Gears: Framing Bike-sharing Trends in Sun Belt Cities


Bicycle against wall with graffiti

While bike-sharing is typically framed as a means of transportation for weekday commuters, a new analysis of the programs in Austin, Denver, Fort Worth and Houston indicates that users frequently turn to bike-sharing for recreational purposes in these cities.

As planners, policymakers and program operators throughout the country develop bike-share systems, they can benefit from a richer understanding of how people use bike-share programs in lower-density, automobile-oriented urban environments. However, despite the rise of bike-sharing systems, comparative studies of bike-sharing activity are lacking, particularly for cities in the southern and western United States. To shed light on the role that bike-share systems inhabit in these areas, this study examines bike-sharing trips in Austin, Denver, Fort Worth and Houston, comparing and visualizing the type and volume of trips in the four cities.

Photo: Henry Bloomfield/Flickr

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