Bikesharing is the fastest growing mode of public transportation in the United States. As city leaders and transportation planners work to reduce the dependence on personal automobiles in response to climate change, bikesharing has emerged as one of the most viable ways to create more healthy, livable, and sustainable cities. Bikesharing provides all of the benefits of urban biking while removing many of the common barriers such as storage, theft, and parking.
As the cost of living has risen dramatically across U.S. metros in response to the demand for a more walkable urban lifestyle, apartment sizes are shrinking. Many older developments do not have indoor bike parking. As a result, bike commuters have to store personal bikes inside a small urban apartment (not to mention carry them up multiple flights of stairs if there is no elevator). Bikesharing solves this problem by providing convenient access to bikes without the potential for theft that comes with locking your personal bike at the street level.
In order to visualize where in the United States the largest bikesharing systems are, I created a series of maps utilizing open data and the CartoDB interactive web-mapping platform (see maps below). Here are some of our findings:
- As of August 2015, the two largest bikesharing systems in the United States are Divvy in Chicago and Citi Bike in New York.
- Which one takes the #1 spot depends on how one looks at the data.
- In terms of the total number of bikeshare station locations, Divvy takes the #1 spot with 474 stations to Citi Bike NYC’s 329 stations.
- When measuring the total number of bikes, Citi Bike NYC is the largest bikeshare in the United States with 4,425 total bikes. Divvy in Chicago is #2, totaling 3,470 bikes.
- Citi Bike NYC has the largest stations of all of the systems in the United States, the largest of which, located at Atlantic Ave & Forest Green Place has 62 docks.
- The largest station in the Divvy system, located at Michigan Ave & Washington Street has 43 docks.
These total station and bike numbers are always in flux and will continue to change as bikesharing gains popularity as sustainable, practically emission-free form of shared-use mobility that has great potential to reduce personal car use in the United States.