In a sprawling, data-rich, draft development plan for bikeshare in DC, DDOT set goals for the system, preformed a market study, and considered various expansion scenarios before developing the plan it's now presenting. They set 12 goals for the program, each with a metric they plan to report on. These goals include improving public health and safety, serving tourists, reducing the environmental impact of transportation in the District and making bikeshare an integral part of the city's transportation system. The market study concluded that CaBi could increase system utility by adding capacity in places where high usage has led to empty and full stations, expanding stations to new areas and making a greater effort to inform and serve tourists. All of this fed into a program expansion planning process wherein DDOT first considered two 5-year expansion scenarios, before settling on a 5-year plan with all of the expansion front-loaded into the first 3 years.
The plan is for Capital Bikeshare to add 99 stations in areas that demonstrated a high bikeshare need when considering how a station would meet current demand, garner revenue, improve health and public welfare and increase accessibility to varied destinations. The first 20 stations on that list are stations that have already been promised, but not delivered due to supplier issues. These include stations at St. Elizabeths, the American University Law School and the Capital South Metro, to name a few. DDOT currently expects to add 47 stations in FY2016, 27 in FY2017 and 25 in FY2018. Station additions into new neighborhoods will occur in clusters so as to keep stations within easy biking distance of other stations. 28 stations will be added to the core with 71 in the outer neighborhoods.
In addition, 21 stations will be expanded. In some cases that is because an expansion would be more effective than placing another station nearby. These locations were determined based on a "lost trip" calculation focused on high use stations that also demonstrated high system downtime, because the station was either completely full or empty. Any station with the equivalent of 600 lost trips or less a month received a four dock expansion, while stations with a lost trip rate greater than 600, expanded by eight docks. All expansions are scheduled for FY 2016 or 2017. 9 of the station expansions will within the system core with 12 outside of it. This should improve utility in hubs such as the U Street Metro, Logan Circle at P Street, and Dupont Circle.
The capital costs of this expansion are estimated at $6.514 million, with operating costs rising from $5.8 million in 2014 to $10.8 million in FY2021. But revenues are also expected to increase such that the operating deficit is actually expected to be lower in 2021 than it is in 2014.
DDOT's study is only the first step in the process, and this is just a draft version of the study - which is accepting comments through November.
Before any new stations are installed, the agency will conduct public outreach, coordinate with key stakeholders, and procure additional funding for stations. Public involvement will be key for DDOT to finalizing station siting. While this plan highlights recommended areas for stations, public feedback will help determine which specific locations are best suited for bikeshare stations.
[I really wanted to call this post "I got 99 stations and Woodridge ain't one", but I thought better of it]
Three types of grants were announced. Transportation Alternatives grants which can go to a wide category of transportation, historic preservation or environmental projects. Recreational Trails projects, which are usually smaller projects like building bathrooms or adding trail counters. And there are the Bikeways programs which are large, bike-specific projects.
10‐station bikeshare construction in Wheaton Central Business District and Wheaton Metro Station ($300,350)
Construction of two 15‐dock bike share stations on New Hampshire Avenue in Takoma Park and in the Takoma Langley Crossroads area ($100,000)
Removal of 10 sections of concrete wall and construction of 100 feet of bike/pedestrian trail in College Park ($95,000) (???)
Installation of bicycle improvements including signage, pavement markings, and bicycle racks along various roads in Mount Rainier ($80,000)
Patuxent River State Park Trail Project: Phase 1 Completion ($40,000)
Montgomery Parks/SCA Trails Project ($40,000)
Hollywood Road Sidewalk Feasibility Study in College Park ($36,000) [I'm going to guess "is feasible" will be the result]
Laurel Place bikeway signage and pavement markings and implementation of an on‐street bike lane or shared roadway in Laurel ($9,600)
The Central Avenue Connector Trail is a big, important project and it's good to see it get heavily funded. Capital Bikeshare expansion into more of Montgomery County will be very welcome I'm sure. The other projects, though smaller, are likely to pay off as well.
Farther out, some notable projects are:
Rehabilitation of the Conococheague Creek Aqueduct for engineering, safety, and accessibility improvements ($6,962,904) [This was the top funded project statewide]
Cross County Connector Trail – Grasonville ($3,431,084) [This was the second highest funded project]
The Cross Island Trail currently extends six miles from the Chesapeake Bay at Terrapin Park in Stevensville across Kent Island High School to Old Love Point Park and along Route 50 east to Kent Narrows north, including a spur to the Chesapeake Exploration Center and Ferry Point Park. The connector trail would link Long Point Park to Kent Narrows north.
Our empirical results indicate that the average treatment effect of the presence of bikeshare docks is a 2 to 3% reduction in traffic congestion. In addition to these results, we also find evidence of a potential spillover effect, in which docks increase congestion in neighboring locations, perhaps as they lead drivers to find alternative routes to avoid bicycle traffic. The magnitude of this impact is substantial relative to the effect in which docks offer transportation alternatives and reduce traffic congestion.
On June 4, 2015, a bike taken out by a founding member from September 2010 traveled from 14th St & D St NW / Reagan Building to 8th St & D St NW to become the 10 millionth trip taken on Capital Bikeshare. Accomplished with a fleet of just over 3,000 bikes, our members have shown that bicycling can get you where you need to go all over this region.
Based on the latest CaBi dashboard data cyclists have ridden more than 14 million miles. That's quite a success and one that's good for the community. In addition to the health and mobility improvements, it means less pollution, and possibly less congestion, too.
A recent study claimed that bikesharing might actually contribute to congestion and pollution because of the rebalancing vehicles. I'm much more confident on pollution than I am on congestion. Based on the latest CaBi member survey, we can see that the CaBi results in the following mode shift.
37% - Shift from walking to bikeshare
6% - Shift from driving
6% - Shift from Taxi/uber/lyft
40% - Shift from bus, metrorail
3% - Shift from no trip
I'll ignore the 3% other and the 5% who would've rode their own bike.
On pollution, we can see that 12% of trips switch from cars to bikes. If year 2 data is applicable, we know that every 10 miles of biking requires 1 mile of rebalance car driving. Looking at this simply, it means that every 12 miles of driving shifted to bikeshare is offset by 10 miles of rebalance vehicle driving. Now, it's likely that the trips shifted from driving were longer than those shifted from walking, but also that the rebalancing vehicles use more gas than the average passenger car, so it gets more complicated in reality. But still I think it points to a modest reduction in pollution from driving alone.
And of course, taking 3.7 million people off of transit should reduce pollution too. Even if you think it means that no fewer buses or trains are needed, carrying extra people requires extra energy. And for buses at least, extra passengers mean more stops. I think it's pretty clear that when all of this is considered it's very likely that bikeshare reduces pollution.
Congestion mitigation is less clear
Using 1 unit of congestion as that which is caused by a car, we can say that before mode shift motorists would've caused 12 units of congestion. While pedestrians and transit users would have caused less congestion than motorists, it wouldn't be nothing. More bus passengers means more bus stops and longer dwell time, and pedestrians delay drivers who are trying to turn at intersections. Unfortunately I can't find any study that defines a conversion factor for the congestion caused by these groups (nor does CaBi break out bus from rail). So, for now, we have unsolved variables x and y.
After the mode shift, we have 0.28 (the bike conversion factor) + 0.10 (Rebalancing vehicles drive about 1 mile for every 10 miles of biking) * 92 (the percentage of people shifted to bikes) which equals about 35 units.
So, without knowing the values of x and y, I can't really say that bike share reduces congestion (or that it doesn't). And again, it gets more complicated, since I'm assuming that rebalancing vehicles drive at the same times of day as the bike share trips happen, which is pretty unlikely. To whatever extent rebalancing trips are shifted from rush hour, that reduces the congestion caused by bikeshare rebalancing.
It's still too early to make any statements about safety.
The death rate per 100 million automobile miles traveled in DC is 0.56, so while it's certainly good that there have been no CaBi deaths in the first ~15 million miles, that would be expected. Once CaBi has 500-600 million miles under its belt, we might be able to make some statements about its copmparative safety. Currently, this is complicated by the fact that CaBi estimates mileage, and while there is talk of using GPS to get a more accurate measure of mileage, no such data is available right now.
What we do know is that there have still been no deaths in the United States by bikesharing cyclists. And that report from last year was after 23 million miles, but there has been a lot of bikeshare miles covered since then.
Capital Bikeshare will get new bicycles and docking stations at almost 60 new locations throughout the region starting this fall.
Capital Bikeshare is getting the new equipment through Motivate, a New York-based company formed by investors who purchased previous operator Alta Bicycle Share.
The District is buying most of the bicycles — 435 bicycles for 40 stations, at a cost of $2.5 million. The city, which is getting the bicycles through Motivate, had planned to purchase that equipment in the spring of 2014.
With a new supplier, Alexandria has ordered four stations, with 28 bicycles, and will buy an additional 12 docking stations later this year.
Montgomery, the last jurisdiction to join the bike system, will get seven new stations and 58 bicycles as part of the new purchase. And Arlington will get seven stations and 56 bicycles.
All your pavement are belong to us. [Except College Park]
College Park, which had planned to bring the network to Prince George’s County in February 2014, was close to having a deal with the Capital Bikeshare operator when the bankruptcy stalled negotiations. Eventually the city abandoned its efforts. But this spring, College Park, in partnership with the University of Maryland at College Park, sought an alternate bike-sharing operator, and Motivate was not one of the new bidders.
Along with several other locations along the Mt. Vernon Trail. Via NBC4
Arlington County recently approved the addition of eight stations, bringing the number of stations from along the parkway from one to nine. Federal funds the county received will help pay for the stations.
The county has proposed the following Capital Bikeshare station locations:
Arlington National Cemetery
Parking lot serving the parkway and Theodore Roosevelt Island
Gravelly Point Park
Joint Base Myer/Henderson Hall
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport
Installation is expected to begin next summer and will take a year to complete.
Depending on where the DCA station is, it could be a real benefit to employees and passengers alike.
A recent study claims that while bike sharing has some real benefits such as improved health; increased transport choice and convenience; reduced travel times and costs; and improved travel experience; there is "no evidence" that it reduces congestion, carbon emissions or pollution. In addition benefits tend to go to younger, more socio-economically advantaged males. This is particularly troubling since some places, DC in particular, have utilized Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Improvement money to fund bike-sharing; and Montgomery County has tapped into a Jobs Access and Reverse Commute grant which is designed to help welfare recipients and low-income persons seeking to obtain and maintain employment. If Miriam Ricci, a researcher at the University of the West of England’s Centre for Transport and Society, is correct about these claims, that might put future funding from these programs at risk.
I haven't read the study since it's behind the paywall and I'm not made out of money, but a NextCity article on it has more details than the abstract does. It doesn't appear that Ricci gathered any new data, but rather relied on "existing studies and surveys", which I don't say to make it sound invalid.
Ricci found that bike-share users don’t bike instead of driving so much as they bike instead of taking transit or walking. She writes that, “although Dublin bikes users reported considerable behavioral change, the prevailing trend showed a large modal shift (80.2 percent) from sustainable modes of travel to the bicycle, particularly from walking (45.6 percent) and including transfer from bus (25.8 percent) and rail (8.8 percent).” Still, nearly 20 percent of Dublin bikes users say they now drive less. Other European and American cities saw far lower rates of mode shift. In London only 2 percent of users shifted away from cars. In Lyon, France, and Washington, D.C., it’s 7 percent.
If each bike causes 22-28% as much congestion as a car, depending on how that compares to transit or walking, when a person moves from transit or walking to biking that might increase congestion - of course it's more than offset by each person who moves from driving. Another source of congestion could be the rebalancing:
bike-share can actually contribute to congestion with the vans and trucks they use to redistribute bikes in the system. Those motorized fleets also harm bike-share’s environmental benefit.
I know that in 2011-2012, CaBi reportedly drove their vehicles about 140,000 miles, a lot of it outside of congestion time periods I suspect. So the contribution to congestion and pollution by rebalancing might not be that much. But these are good questions to ask, still when they say "Ricci found zero evidence that bike-share leads to any significant reduction of carbon emissions" I wonder what is "significant," because if there's significant enough benefit from a health or transportation choice standpoint, then those benefits - though "insignificant" - are still gravy. And they might be enough to continue using CMAQ and JARC money (something Ricci probably doesn't care about).
Ricci argues that bike advocates should focus on the benefits for which more compelling evidence is available.
According to Ricci’s paper, a recent survey of London bike-share’s active users found that 78 percent started to ride or ride more as a result of the system. Similarly, 68.4 percent of sampled bike-share users in Dublin claimed, “not to have cycled for their current trip prior to the launch of Dublinbikes” and 63.4 say they purchased a private bicycle after using bike-share.
Ricci also found encouraging evidence that shows bike-share is good for user health...
Which is all well and good, if bike-sharing systems are content to find other funding.
I suspect that a more detailed study - focused on the US, where there is more driving, instead of Dublin - would show that there are modest, but real, congestion, air pollution and transportation equity benefits from bike-sharing.
Update: A related study adds to the common sense claim that active commuting is good for your health
Despite evidence that more compact settlement patterns enable active commuting, only a small share of workers in these areas choose to walk or bike to work. In general, the activity level of residents in more compact cities and residents in more sprawling areas is very similar. But, there is a robust association between active commuting and lower body mass index that is not explained by unobserved attributes or preferences suggests that policies to promote active commuting may be effective. In particular, active commuting has a greater effect on BMI. Consequently, compact settlement appears to be an effective infrastructure for promoting more active lifestyles. The policy challenge is finding ways to ensure that this infrastructure is more widely utilized.
It seems unlikely at this point that the stadium deal will fall apart, and thus likely that Motivate will be forced to move soon. Though not confirmed, I suspect they're already looking for a new location. Back in 2013, when the stadium deal first stated to come together, I wrote:
CaBi moved into it's new location last year, after starting in a less appealing facility on Half Street in 2010. "We now have air conditioning, heat, better office space and an easy location for staff." said Gilliland. The facility has plenty of space for storing equipment, is easily accesible by bike or transit and provides access to the core of the system in DC, Arlington and Alexandria.
But it looks like they could be moving again. CaBi has a lease until 2017, but with DC United hoping to kick off the 2016 season in the new facility, it looks like they won't make it that long. In fact, the operations center is next to property that will almost surely need environmental remediation and CaBi doesn't want its employees working outside when that is work is being done, so they'd like to move before work begins.
DC is supposed to acquire all the stadium land by September 2015 and hand it over by September 2016, with groundbreaking prior to 2017, which would mean that Motivate likely has to move before then, but could make it to the end of their lease I suppose.
Where they'll go is another question. They need space to warehouse excess equipment, run a large-scale repair center, park vehicles house offices etc... and they'd like it all centrally-located. And not too expensive either. Should be easy.
This is from a GGW live chat (in case you haven't noticed, I'm a little behind on things, but working feverishly to catch up).
Team Grosso: Last week we heard from #bikedc about the need to accelerate plans for improving cycling. What's the Director's plan?
Leif Dormsjo: We've got a solid work plan for 2015 in terms of the construction of more bike lanes, be they fully protected or simply shared lanes, and we've got a lot of work in the pipeline with the trail projects. There's been some really terrific success in both the bike lane program and the trail program and we are coming to a phase of our work that will require more consensus building and technical work to achieve high quality results. I agree that a lot of the low hanging fruit has already been plucked, but we need to maintain an aggressive approach to bike maintenance and safety.
Leif Dormsjo: But many of the areas where we have that final block or next connection to make involved stakeholders whether they be the federal government or businesses or third parties that own property. It will require a different skill set with regard to how the department conducts itself. We're not lowering our target in terms of increasing the bikeable mileage within the city limits, but the more simple, easier-to-implement solutions are not available to us any longer.
David Alpert: Thanks. On another specific bicycling-related topic, Andrew Schmadel asked: 1) When can we expect Capital Bikeshare to resume adding new bikes and stations? Have the supply issues been resolved, and are there any plans to prevent a similar issue from occurring in the future?
Leif Dormsjo: In the bikeshare program, we have a relationship with a contractor and so one of the challenges recently is the financial difficulties that contractor has run into. There was a bankruptcy that impacted Capital Bikeshare. As they worked through that, we will have more clarity about how they expand and improve their program in the District. We don't have a timeline for that.
Here again, "No, that hasn't been resolved yet." would have sufficed.