How mobility startups can help authorities fix public transport after the pandemic
- Date: 05/22/2020
Mobility has been impacted the world over due to the COVID 19 crisis. From public transport, to micromobility, to individual…
Tomorrow is Bike to Work Day, and it is a prime opportunity for mobility managers to connect their stakeholders to new mobility opportunities. A day to specifically celebrate biking is important because it offers an opportunity to introduce people to cycling in a more encouraging environment than a typical day, and it can show what the future could look like with a higher concentration of bike commuters.
Many local advocacy organizations use Bike to Work Day to host free bike repairs, offer education opportunities, give out prizes for riders, and even provide bike trains that use experienced cyclists to introduce new riders to routes and bolster their confidence. The day helps to capitalize on the psychology of learning through experience, which is a key tool for mobility management outreach.
The extra people biking on this day provide mobility managers and other planners the opportunity to reach out and understand what prevents people from using bikes for transportation. For example, a lot of time and energy (rightfully) goes toward redesigning safer streets for bikes, but it is often overlooked that riders also need someplace safe to park at their destinations (a resource that cars typically have in abundance). Lack of bike parking is an underestimated force in preventing people from riding to work or large events, and investing in this would further boost ridership.
Improved bike parking also helps with the evolution of new shared-use systems that encourage dockless bikeshare. Because cars take up so much space, there is little room for pedestrians and other active transportation modes to share. Therefore, “clutter” has become a perceived problem in communities where dockless companies have established themselves. Though a longer-term solution involves giving more space to bikes and pedestrians through wider sidewalks and slower streets, there are cheap and simple fixes to bike parking in the near-term. In Washington, D.C., Council Member David Grosso has suggested a fix by putting a bike corral on every block, making bike parking just as ubiquitous and easy to use as car parking that should help ease some of the tension between bikes and pedestrians.
Bikeshare, in particular, offers a great opportunity for mobility management efforts. Assuming systems are properly implemented, they establish a widespread mobility option that can be affordable for people of all income levels to access and use as they need it. Because the bikeshare industry is evolving rapidly, communities need to understand what the varying services and types of shared-use equipment can mean for their area and community.
One of the biggest arguments for mobility managers to embrace Bike to Work Day is that bikes can directly improve quality of life for entire communities. They provide people the opportunity to reach jobs, health care, and other vital resources more reliably than other expensive or unreliable modes. That, and the increased physical activity directly translates into better helath outcomes, as frequent bike commuters often live longer than those who commute in cars.
Image Credit: San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
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