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D.C.’s share program works because both filled a hole in the city’s transportation network and it appeals to locals and visitors in a way few other programs do.
If you had been handed, a decade ago, a map of the U.S. and asked to predict where the novel idea of bike sharing—then limited to a few small-scale projects in a handful of European cities, might first find its firmest footing, you probably would have laid your money on a progressive hub like Portland or Seattle or the regional poles of walkable urbanism, New York or San Francisco—all of which were scoring higher, those days, in surveys like Bicycling magazine’s list of most bikeable cities.
But today, the nation’s largest, most successful bike-share program—in terms of size, ridership, and financial viability—is in Washington, D.C. How did D.C. accomplish this unlikely task?