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There are benefiits that are not easily quantifiable. In the competition to attract the creative class as residents, the area that has the right mix of factors will win. And BikeShare-type programs is going to be one of those factors from now on, because they make moving around the urban core far easier.

I've been curious about the car replacement numbers. In my case, it sounds about right -- about 1 in 10 trips replaced a car trip. Mostly, they replacing walking and other bike trips. Some transit trips.

100K trips a year; that is about 300 car trips a day.

This is why I don't like bikesharing and CMAQ funds. Benefits are very low. Cost is low as well, but you could do a lot more to reduce air pollution.

There is a lot of reason to support bike sharing. Air quality -- not so much.

I'm dubious about the stated benefits, too. I like it, but it's more of an amenity issue for me. Like free concerts in Central Park.

The other metric that I am curious about is weight.


I'd love to say, oh, bikeshare bruned about 1 million calories or whatever. But again, I doubt it. My guess is the mechinical advanatege of a bike is taking away from calories burned while walking. But it might be worthwhile to track a supset of users to see if they lose weight over a year. Or gain some other health increase.

But yes, thinking about bikeshare as a way to attract healthy young people (without children!) is the best way to frame it.

CaBi is kind of like training wheels for grown ups. It helps teach them cycling around DC is easy, quick, fun and cheap. Once people realize these benefits they start riding their own bikes more. These benefits are tough to measure, but they are real and significant.

CaBi is creating critical mass for bike riding as a commuting and utility option. Thus the savings in congestion reduction and car trip replacement go far beyond the actual CaBi rides themselves. I've never ridden a CaBi bike. But the resulting less-hostile-for-bike-riding environment that CaBi's presence has helped foster makes my commute and utility rides possible. I'm up to nearly 5k miles commuting this year, almost all off major roads (and thus reducing car or Metro peak hour congestion).

I'd like to see his competing plan for increasing the capacity of the city's transportation infrastructure by 1.9% for $5 million.

Agree with Greenbelt - I have never ridden a CaBi, but as a cyclist I benefit from the more bike-friendly environment that it generates.

I agree with michael D, (as well as Greenbelt and Fred), the biggest benefits are the secondary benefits.

Those could be people like me who started on bikeshare, as a way to test the waters of DC's roads, and eventually graduated to purchasing a bike and riding 40+ miles a week for commuting, as well as other trips.

It could also be the people who use their bikes a fair amount, but use CaBi for trips that a personal bike wouldn't be used for.

And, like Greenbelt said, it's the overall rise in visibility of cycling in the area that makes more people see it as something they can do.

Ultimately, when the next ACS figures come out for DC, I think Bikeshare could contribute directly to increasing the percentage of bike commutes in the area, but I think the (less-quantifiable) indirect benefits will spark a much higher rise in the number of bikes on the road.

It's hard to quantify secondary effects in a meaningful way, however. Here's a different data point: I have largely retired a personal bike that I used to use extensively, because I have found that a cost-neutral combination of CaBi, Metro, and driving in my personal vehicle is much more convenient. I support CaBi and think it's a great amenity to have. I'd say annual memberships are probably underpriced given its success and system expansion -- it will look like much more of a financial success if they raise the annual membership price to $100 or $120.

I have two bikes of my own but I also use CaBi. CaBi is better for running errands (no worries about leaving my own bike locked up outside), one-way trips and commuting.

I agree with others that there are direct and indirect benefits. The system is still young and growing.

The health benefits could be the biggest of them all, especially as bikesharing expands to more and more cities across the country. We spend (waste) hundreds of billions of dollars a year on health costs for "avoidable" problems related to inactivity and poor nutrition. (Smoking too.) While cycling and exercise does not mean people eat better, in my experience, active people tend to eat healthier than inactive people.

Fortunately the people who count don't seem to be listening to this Marc Scribner guy.

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