Greater Greater Washington

Bicycling


Here are America's largest bikesharing systems in 2013

American bikesharing boomed in 2013 like never before. Led by huge new systems in New York and Chicago, the total number of bikesharing stations in the US more than doubled, from 835 at the end of 2012 to 1,925 in 2013.

After three straight years at the top of the chart, Washington's Capital Bikeshare slipped to second place. CaBi's 305 stations barely edge out Chicago's 300, but are behind New York's 330. Those three cities make up a clear first tier nationwide, with no other systems cracking 200 stations.

Overall, 13 new bikesharing systems opened nationwide, bringing the total to 40. In addition to New York and Chicago, other noteworthy additions include San Francisco, Fort Worth, and Columbus.

At this point, it's fair to say we're no longer in the pioneering period. Any city that still doesn't have bikesharing is beginning to fall behind.

It's not just the big coastal cities where bikesharing is becoming popular. There are some unexpected hotspots, where groups of nearby cities have independently launched small systems. Four Texas cities have bikesharing, plus two more in Oklahoma. Small systems are also popular in the Southeast, with 6 systems in close proximity in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Tennessee.

Oddly, the only area of the country that seems particularly underrepresented is the West Coast. San Francisco's Bay Area Bikeshare finally became the first large West Coast system this year, but it's still the only one. Portland, Seattle, and Los Angeles continue to lag.

Here's the complete list. New systems in 2013 are in bold. Previous years are available for comparison.

RankCity2012 Stations2013 Stations
1New York0330
2Washington (regional)191305
3Chicago0300
4Minneapolis (regional)145170
5Boston (regional)105132
6Miami Beach8497
7Denver5381
8San Francisco (regional)067
9San Antonio3051
10Fort Worth034
11Chattanooga3033
12Madison2432
13Columbus030
14Houston329
15Ft Lauderdale (regional)2525
16(t)Boulder2222
16(t)Nashville2022
18Charlotte2021
19Long Beach, NY1213
20(t)Kansas City1212
20(t)Aspen012
20(t)Salt Lake City012
23Austin011
24(t)Washington State Univ (Pullman, WA)99
24(t)Georgia Tech Univ (Atlanta, Ga)99
26Omaha58
27(t)Oklahoma City77
27(t)George Mason Univ (Fairfax, VA)47
29(t)Greenville, SC66
29(t)Des Moines46
31(t)California Univ - Irvine (Irvine, CA)44
31(t)Tulsa44
31(t)Spartanburg, SC24
31(t)Univ of Buffalo (Buffalo, NY)04
31(t)Lansing04
36(t)Louisville33
36(t)Stony Brook Univ (Stony Brook, NY)03
38(t)Kailua, HI22
38(t)Roseburg VA Hospital (Roseburg, OR)02
?Hailey, ID02
(approx.)

Notes: Systems covering multiple jurisdictions are counted either together or separately depending on how they choose to represent themselves. Thus Bay Area Bikeshare is counted as a single system, while Denver B-Cycle and Boulder B-Cycle are counted separately.

Cross-posted at BeyondDC.

Dan Malouff is a professional transportation planner for the Arlington County Department of Transportation. He has a degree in Urban Planning from the University of Colorado, and lives a car-free lifestyle in Northwest Washington. His posts are his own opinions and do not represent the views of his employer in any way. He runs the blog BeyondDC and also contributes to the Washington Post Local Opinions blog. 

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Georgia Tech is the Georgia Institute of Technology, and does not have University in its name.

by Alex on Jan 6, 2014 10:42 am • linkreport

None of those smaller systems have critical mass. Maybe Charlotte, since the downtown is so compact.

by Crickey7 on Jan 6, 2014 10:46 am • linkreport

I guess we were never likely to be competitive with New York in the long run. I wonder if we will stay ahead of Chicago. On a per capita basis DC has to be highest among major cities.

by BTA on Jan 6, 2014 10:58 am • linkreport

While Portland doesn't have a visible bike sharing program, it does have a viable bike rental market that's probably just as convenient, cheap and easy to use. The city is still very bike friendly and caters to those passing through, this map doesn't capture that, it's just Portland has a different way of obtaining bikes on the go.

I was able to get my bike the day I landed in Portland from a local place run directly out of a home. There were always other options open if I did a quick internet search. Maybe Portland would be fine to set up a bike sharing service eventually, but I think it would ruin the unique submarket and the overall vibe of the place since the current way definitely gets you closer to the awesome laid back locals.

by Swftkat on Jan 6, 2014 12:03 pm • linkreport

Let's not forget our friends North and South of the border:
  • Montreal, 437 stations
  • Toronto, 81 stations
  • Ottawa, 25 stations
  • Mexico City, 269 stations

by cabi addict on Jan 6, 2014 12:03 pm • linkreport

I'm a bit surprised that NYC isn't larger at this point.

Sort sort of common billing system -- to allow keys to be used in other Alta system for day/weekly passes -- would be nice. I got to use Citibiki over Christmas, as the pulling out the credit card to get a paper pass is no fun.

by charlie on Jan 6, 2014 12:07 pm • linkreport

Didn't know Columbus had one. Sadly, no stations on OSU campus. And no stations beyond downtown where nobody lives.

That is a failure of the system.

On the other hand, it is good to see that there is a station within site of the (Republican controlled) State House.

That's a first, I think... [checkerdiecheckcheck: No, Austin has one two]

by Jasper on Jan 6, 2014 12:27 pm • linkreport

It's great to see so many new and emerging systems, but I am concerned about the smaller ones -- not only are they below critical mass, but by coming in too small and underperforming they could end up invalidating the concept.  They will have to find a way to grow from pilot phase into something actually useful.  DC and Chicago were able to do that with the former Smart Bike and B-Cycle, respectively; with any luck some of the others can do likewise. 

To their credit, however, the smaller ones do get some aspects right, such as automatic cross-system enrollment in other cities' systems. 

At some point the larger systems really should get their acts together with a bikeshare equivalent of EZ-pass (a notion the toll roads resisted until the feds made them do it). 

by cabi addict on Jan 6, 2014 12:28 pm • linkreport

Some of the smaller systems are OK, if they're in smaller cities. Boulder and Madison, for example. But the small systems in big cities are a problem, I agree.

by BeyondDC on Jan 6, 2014 1:30 pm • linkreport

I was surprised last year when I went to Chattanooga and found it had a bike-sharing programme. Even more surprised it's ranked 11th nationwide.

by Burd on Jan 6, 2014 1:36 pm • linkreport

That's a map of the United States.

Toronto has a successful bike-sharing program, too.

by Capt. Hilts on Jan 6, 2014 1:47 pm • linkreport

Toronto's system is actually in serious financial distress.

- http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/toronto/toronto-to-take-over-struggling-bixi-bike-sharing-program/article15761883/

My understanding is that so is Chattanooga.

WRT Salt Lake City, the huge size of blocks (each block is about 10 acres, or about the equivalent of 4 DC blocks) in Mormon-designed cities makes bike share very appealing, even with a small number of stations, combined with transit.

But yes, most cities will never have enough stations for bike sharing to make much difference in overall mobility.

And most of the systems in the US don't have the increase in membership growth that was experienced in Montreal.

DC's system likely would not be financially positive without high tourist use and the racking up of add'l fees for trips longer than 30 minutes.

by Richard Layman on Jan 6, 2014 2:32 pm • linkreport

I can why most folks aren't much interested in riding bikes for about 5 months of the year. I did nearly every day and it was not easy.

But Toronto adopted bikeshare before DC and NYC.

by Capt. Hilts on Jan 6, 2014 2:35 pm • linkreport

The other thing that I forgot to mention is that in Toronto, it doesn't help that the Mayor is anti-bike and that the Mayoral situation is so f*ed there generally and wrt transit that it makes it very difficult to provide the right kind of supports, expand, etc.

Montreal and the province of Quebec have great bike plans which have spearheaded the expansion of great infrastructure. E.g., Montreal has more miles of cycletrack than any other city in North America.

So that helps a lot. So does, at least in the core, the tight integration of commercial districts and residential areas with high density.

Just as usage falls off as the system expands outward from the core in DC, Montreal has the same issue, although since the boroughs have to pay their own way, they too "don't have enough stations either" but then again, they don't have the density of the core.

P.S. - Capt. Hilts: technically you are wrong. Toronto may have deployed "Bixi" before DC, but it didn't have bikeshare before DC. Nor did Montreal. We had Smartbike first. That being said, Bixi learned a lot from that deployment and incorporated lots of learning into their design (including the hardiness of the bikes and solar polar).

by Richard Layman on Jan 6, 2014 3:07 pm • linkreport

As usual, Philly is *way* behind the eight-ball. That's a city with a potential to rival DC or San Fran in terms of usage. Sigh...

by Marc on Jan 6, 2014 4:26 pm • linkreport

I was impressed with Montreals bike infrastructure circa 2011. Definitely more than any I've seen in the US.

by BTA on Jan 6, 2014 4:27 pm • linkreport

charlie, I believe the b-cycle systems do allow you to use your key in their various systems.

Unless you're a university, anything less than 50 stations is a waste of money.

by JJJJ on Jan 6, 2014 8:00 pm • linkreport

I think we're just getting started. In the future, there will be few cities without one.

by David C on Jan 6, 2014 9:47 pm • linkreport

Seattle has so far not been able to find a way around the legally mandated helmets for all ages.

by EMA on Jan 7, 2014 12:42 am • linkreport

Hello:University of Maryland and the City if College Park are very close to contract signing and implementation of a Bike Share system.

by Mike Levengood on Jan 7, 2014 10:30 am • linkreport

LA, Dallas, and Philly are the 3 largest US cities without any bikeshare system on this list. We recognize there are some serious transportation challenges in all 3 cities, but its almost embarrassing that they have zero bikeshare.

Will that change in 2014?

by Ryan C on Jan 7, 2014 1:07 pm • linkreport

One might have expected that warm-weather cities would have more bike-sharing due to having year-round weather more comfortable for cycling.

Why, then, do we see the biggest systems in colder cities? Is it because there's also more public transit in those cities? And perhaps that, as a result, they have a less car-oriented mentality/worldview?

by Toronto My Way on Jan 9, 2014 12:21 pm • linkreport

Sunbelt cities in the USA tend to be more autocentric, which has much to do with the era when they were developed.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 9, 2014 12:28 pm • linkreport

Toronto My Way: I think that is part of it.

Also the Sunbelt cities are newer, and therefore far more sprawly. (They are newer because it wasn't really desirable to have a city in those kind of places before air conditioning). Bike sharing (and biking, largely, but especially bike sharing with the limited time before you get charged) works best in denser cities where you can get to more stuff in a short ride.

But also, I'd disagree that warmer weather is better for biking. For the cities in Arizona, Texas, Florida, etc. it's actually quite hot and/or humid and so biking can be uncomfortable. It can be hot here, for sure, and very cold, but biking a lot in cold weather is actually not so bad since you build up heat. In fact it's sometimes much more comfortable to bike in the cold than walk.

There's really no excuse for Los Angeles, though, which is a) not a new city, b) somewhat sprawly but also quite dense in many ways and c) not too hot and humid to bike much.

by David Alpert on Jan 9, 2014 12:32 pm • linkreport

DA

I'm told Tuscon, at least, has a very strong cycling culture. And bike share seems to be doing okay in Miami Beach, which is hot and humid, but also dense and griddy. And overseas Tel-o-Fun in Tel Aviv, which is also hot and humid, but dense and griddy (and with central european urban planning roots)

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 9, 2014 12:38 pm • linkreport

Yup, Miami and Tel Aviv are also older warm cities.

Tucson is also not that bad in terms of sprawl. It's fairly spread out but is mostly a big grid, not a whole bunch of spiraly roads and culs-de-sac like the typical suburban subdivision. It doesn't have that many freeways actually. And there are a lot of buses and pedestrian crosswalks though the roadways are really wide.

by David Alpert on Jan 9, 2014 12:42 pm • linkreport

Agreed, it's more complex than my simplified take.

I see that urban density seems to trump weather for ride-ability. Those cities that sprawled out in a car-oriented manner make getting from home to work to amenities more difficult for cycling.

But, winter cycling, temperature notwithstanding, is utterly treacherous. People tend to cycle in winter more as a result of necessity - having committed to downtown/urban living, they're less likely to have a car and thus have less choice about getting around.

(BTW, I really dig the anti-spam human-check approach on this website, very cool!)

by Toronto My Way on Jan 9, 2014 12:58 pm • linkreport

It's Miami Beach, which is totally bikeable, and not Miami, which is less so. When it gets hot in Miami Beach, the riders just get more naked.

by Crickey7 on Jan 9, 2014 1:03 pm • linkreport

actually neither TA nor Miami Beach are much older than typical sunbelt cities (they have pre-WW2 roots but so do most sunbelt cities) However both have for historical/geographical reasons very "urbanist" development patterns, and of course TA has historically had very high prices for automobiles and for gasoline.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Jan 9, 2014 1:13 pm • linkreport

@Swftkat The difference is you rented from a local business and had to keep the bike until you were ready to turn it back in. Bike sharing systems you just take the bike from a station, bike to your destination, and then turn it back in to the nearest station. You only have the bike for 10-60 minutes usually and don't have to keep track of it over a full vacation time. Sometimes you just want a quick ride now and then and don't want to rent a bike long term. Also, if you are at work, want to bike to meet a friend for lunch, you just get one and go (In DC the stations seem to be no more than a block or two away from any place except for the large residential neighborhoods). That's what Portland needs and would excel with as their roadway infrastructure is very bike friendly.

by Jim D on Jan 9, 2014 3:12 pm • linkreport

Buffalo is booming!

by Buffalo Promoter on Jan 28, 2014 9:41 am • linkreport

It seems Texas A&M University's bike share is missing from the list. According to the map on their site, MaroonBikeShare has 11 stations.

by Chris L on Mar 26, 2014 4:22 pm • linkreport

Toronto My Way, I'll also note that one of the great things about biking in Toronto is the grid-like layout of much of the city. As a cyclist, you learn which way the one way streets go - Grace goes South, Richmond goes East, etc. and that, too, makes it easier.

by Tracey A. Johnstone on Mar 26, 2014 7:31 pm • linkreport

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