Modeling Framework for Socially Inclusive Bikesharing Services
Bikeshare programs are increasingly popular in the United States and they are an important part of sustainable transportation systems, offering a viable mode choice for many types of last-mile trips. This popularity means that an increasing number of people can enjoy the convenience of cycling and the associated physical health benefits without actually owning a bike (or having access to their own bikes). However, bikeshare systems have not captured high levels of ridership from disadvantaged populations. Many barriers exist that prohibit residents from disadvantaged communities from accessing bikeshare services. These barriers include absence of bikeshare stations within walking distances, lack of financial resources, cultural barriers, and/or unsafe cycling environments. Most of the current research on bikeshare programs focuses on societal benefits (e.g. reducing greenhouse gas emissions by replacing auto trips with bike trips) and bikeshare system management (e.g., bike repositioning between stations). There is some emerging research focused on equity issues in developing bikeshare. However, far less attention has been paid to bikeshare programs’ potential benefits for disadvantaged communities and virtually no quantitative research on how to design bikeshare systems to improve access for these populations. This dissertation work addresses three fundamental bikeshare equity problems.