Bike Share - PeopleForBikes

Bike sharing is a type of transportation service that provides bicycles to use for a daily, monthly, annual, or trip-based fee. Traditionally, bike sharing systems have been station-based meaning that bicycles must be acquired from and returned to self-serve stations—also known as "smart docks." A growing proportion of systems now have "smart bikes" that are outfitted with all the necessary technology built-in to the bicycle, which can provide greater flexibility by eliminating the need for permanent stations.

West Palm Beach, Florida, has a "smart bike" system. - Bob Schneider

According to a study from the National Association of City Transportation Officials, bike share has grown exponentially since it first debuted in the U.S. in 2010 with a steep increase in both number of bikes available and ridership. In the U.S., there are currently more than 50 publicly-available bike share systems that have more than 10 stations and 100 bikes, in addition to several universities and businesses that operate private systems.

Most U.S. bike share systems are funded through a combination of Federal grants, private donations, and sponsorships. In fact, bike share systems operate with relatively little public funding. The main bike share business models in the U.S. are nonprofit, privately owned and operated, publicly owned and privately operated, and publicly owned and operated. Furthermore, research shows bike share positively impacts real estate prices, nearby businesses, and public health.

88 million trips

U.S. bike share trips between 2010 and 2016. Source: NACTO

Bike share is recognized as an option for first/last mile transit connections, and many people are advocating for bike share to be considered as mass transit. For example, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority treats bike share as a component of transit by integrating bus, rail, and bike share access into one Transit Access Pass and using transit fares as the basis for bike share rates. In addition to improving connections between transit and bike share, several systems across the U.S. are working to lower the barriers of access to bike share. Strategies for making bike share more equitable include providing bike share in underserved areas, offering cash payment options, hiring community members as bike share "champions" to improve outreach, and subsidizing rates based on income or for people who receive other forms of assistance. Portland, Oregon, and Detroit, Michigan, are working to make bike share more accessible by expanding options for people with disabilities.

Click here to see a map of worldwide bike share programs


Federal Highway Administration
Bike share programs are eligible for several types of funding under the US Department of Transportation. See FHWA's Pedestrian and Bicycle Funding Opportunities page.

National Association of City Transportation Officials
NACTO provides research and guidance on bike share topics like station siting, user surveys, and equity.

Better Bike Share Partnership
BBSP is dedicated to building equitable bike share systems—see their website for a multitude of resources, including a grant program that funds equity initiatives.

North American Bikeshare Association
As a membership organization for bike share businesses and professionals, NABSA catalogs information about bike share equipment vendors and provides educational resources, some of which are available to the public.

Shared-Use Mobility Center
SUMC's Shared Mobility Mapping Tool shows bike share and other types of shared-mobility initiatives across the country.


Breaking Barriers to Bike Share: Insights on Equity from a Survey of Bike Share System Owners and Operators (2017): This National Institute for Transportation and Communities report assesses equity efforts of more than 50 bike share systems in the U.S.

Sharing riders: How bikesharing impacts bus ridership in New York City (2017): This study published in Transportation Research reveals an association between bike share stations located along bus routes and a decrease in certain bus trips.

Bikeshare: A Review of Recent Literature (2016): This paper from Transport Reviews calls attention to the major findings and limitations of recent bike share research.

Bikesharing and Bicycle Safety (2016): Potential factors contributing to the relative safety of bike share over personal bicycle use are considered in this report from the Mineta Transportation Institute.

Comparative Local Government Law in Motion: How Different Local Government Law Regimes Affect Global Cities' Bike Share Plans (2016): This article from the Fordham Urban Law Journal takes an in-depth look at the legal framework for bike share.

Unraveling the Modal Impacts of Bikesharing (2015): Research by the Transportation Sustainability Research Center explains how bike share affects walking, driving, and public transportation trips.

Bicycle Infrastructure and Traffic Congestion: Evidence from DC's Capital Bikeshare (2015): This Resources for the Future report documents a direct link between bike share and reduced traffic congestion in Washington D.C.

Public Bikesharing in North America During a Period of Rapid Expansion: Understanding Business Models, Industry Trends and User Impacts (2014): The Mineta Transportation Institute considers bike share from the perspective of operators and users in this report.

Are Bikeshare Users Different from Regular Cyclists? (2013): This study from the Transportation Research Record concludes that Capital Bikeshare users differ from local bicyclists in terms of demographics and socioeconomic status.

Bike Sharing in the United States: State of the Practice and Guide to Implementation (2012): This PBIC report provides recommendations for communities interested in bike share based on lessons learned from existing bike share systems.

Feasibility Studies & Plans


The New York Times, Aug. 28, 2017: "No Room on a Bike Rack? Not a Problem for These Smart Bikes"

American Planning Association, Apr. 2017: "Connecting the Dots: Linking Bike Share with Transit-While Considering Equity Issues-Requires a Big-Picture Approach"

Better Bike Share Partnership, Mar. 31, 2017: "Memphis Bike Share Will be Private, NonProfit, and Community-Led"

Better Bike Share Partnership, Mar. 22, 2017: "Building Jobs While Building Bike Share"

Citylab, Jan. 31, 2017: "The Four Horsemen of the Bike Share Apocalypse: What kept Seattle's Pronto! bike share program from thriving?"

PeopleForBikes, Jun. 11, 2015: "Birmingham Will Get North America's First Electric-Assist Bike Share"