Bike Sharing in DC

Capital Bikeshare, the 1,670-plus bikes rental scheme in Washington, DC and Northern Virginia,  recently celebrated its second birthday, marking the end of a very successful year that saw the addition of more stations in the District and Arlington, and the expansion of the program to the City of Alexandria. Eight bike stations are now open in Old Town Alexandria, and others could be potentially added as more funds become available.

As Capital Bikeshare enters its third year of operation, expansion will continue with 54 stations to be added by the end of the calendar year and a projected growth of at least 10% per year over the next five years. Arlington recently completed a Transit Development Plan for Capital Bikeshare which directs expansion including approximately 30 new stations in 2013, focusing on the neighborhoods of Columbia Pike and Shirlington. Montgomery County, MD, also expects to join the program in 2013.

A recent survey investigating the usage of Capital Bikeshare found that bike share has impacted the way people get around DC and surrounding areas. The survey was administered online in November and December of last year to the program’s 18,000 members and drew more than 5,000 respondents. Respondents generally stated that they drive less as a result of bikesharing, indicating that the program helps reduce vehicle miles traveled and vehicle emissions. According to the study, 80 percent of those using the Capital Bikeshare bikes said they bike more often as a result of joining the program and four in 10 said they drove less. Respondents reported saving an average of $15.75 per week on personal transportation costs as a result of bike share use. More data can be found in the full survey report and executive summary.

The success of Capital Bikeshare has demonstrated that the popularity of bicycling as mode of transportation is booming.  Shared bicycles are an inexpensive, healthy, fun and sustainable way of getting around. With hundreds of miles of interconnected off-street trails and on-street bike routes, and its innovative bike sharing program, the Washington, DC area is building bicycling momentum.