Hoboken, New Jersey, completed a six month bike share pilot program that involved 25 community bicycles available to residents. Due to the success of the pilot program, Hoboken issued a joint RFP with Jersey City and Weehawken for a 650 bicycle regional bike sharing program for 2014.
Bike sharing programs have gained popularity nationwide over the last few years. As mores residents are looking for alternative methods of transportation, and cities want to cut down on traffic congestion, communal bikes seem to fit the bill. Leveraging the technologies of social media and smartphone applications, users are able to:
- Sign up for a membership
- Reserve a bike
- Locate a bicycle kiosk
- Borrow the bicycle using a PIN code or card
- Take the bicycle for a period of time
- Return the bicycle to the nearest kiosk for others to enjoy
The Hoboken six month pilot program optimized solar powered GPS tracking and locking systems to house the bicycles and follow their whereabouts while in use. The minimal infrastructure and technology needed to maintain the program’s services are funded by $15 monthly or $75 seasonal membership costs and $10 hourly fees per trip.
After receiving strong interest from Hoboken residents, the city was confident that the program should become permanent in 2014. By joining forces with Jersey City and Weehawken, a regional bike sharing program could attract a larger pool of users while reducing logistical costs. The result of Hoboken’s pilot program was broken down in a report finding:
- 472 residents signed up
- 172 active members remained
- 795 hours of bike sharing total
- 13.1 minutes for the average trip
- 3,637 total trips
- 21.6 average trips a day
- 4,349 total miles
- 1.2 average miles per trip
- Not only did the bike sharing program meet the demand of residents, but also positively impacted the environment by:
- Reducing carbon emissions by 3,835 pounds
- Saving $2,523 on gas
- Burning 173,972 calories by bikers
Users of the bike sharing pilot program learned about the program via social media, seeing the kiosks, the local news, city outreach efforts and word of mouth. Bikers were able to use bicycles to get around the city in replace of walking, public transit, taxis or their own cars during the summer months. Most users were able to reach a bike kiosk within 3 blocks of their home or workplace, making the program efficient and convenient. More than 75 percent of the program’s members were between the ages of 20 and 40 years old, underscoring the city’s main target audience.
Pedals are rotating all over the country with successful bike sharing programs growing at a rapid rate. Chicago currently leads the nation with the most extensive and popular movement. The other largest bike sharing programs in the country can be found in New York, Washington DC and San Francisco. Several programs have already entered into expansion projects after their initial launches proved exceedingly successful.