There is an excellent policy review of Capital Bikeshare and bikesharing in general over at Georgetown Public Policy Review. After stepping through a lot of information that should be familiar to readers here, the note that
[A thorough cost-benefit analysis] was conducted in 2010 as part of a grant proposal for Capital Bikeshare. Using a 7 percent discount rate, the study projected a benefit-cost ratio of 1.72 over 20 years.
More than three years into the program, it would be useful to revisit the calculations to see what assumptions held true and which were not accurate. Such an exercise would allow city planners to turn anecdotal user information into concrete data for decision-making and financial planning. The section that follows does not attempt to come up with a precise benefit-cost ratio, but rather to explore the nature and economic value of some of the non-monetary benefits of Capital Bikeshare.
It's too bad, I've also wanted MWCOG to look at, and update, this analysis.
Kristin Johnson, the author, then goes through some of the benefits and their values. This includes user cost savings of about $370,000 a year, increased access, congestion reduction from 4.7 million miles of reduced driving, CO2 reduction (for which a good number was not available), health benefits, crash reduction, and reduced travel times.
And I agree with this
Despite the fact that Capital Bikeshare has not yet achieved full cost recovery, its proponents argue that it is a part of the public transportation system just like Metrorail and Metrobus, and as such should not be expected to fully pay for itself. If that is truly the case—if cities around the country continue to add bikeshare programs and treat them as key components of their transit system—it will become even more important to rigorously collect data on the various costs and benefits associated with bikeshares.