How DC made bike sharing happen

This spring, Chicago will launch one of the few large bike-sharing programs in the nation. The city hopes to repeat the success Washington, D.C. has had, following European cities such as Copenhagen and Paris.

Riders can rent a bicycle for short trips around the city, from docks located at CTA and Metra stations, commercial and employment centers, and cultural attractions. Charging a credit card allows someone to unlock a bike from a dock for a short trip, and return it near their destination.

The city will use solar-powered docks, which can be quickly installed. It will launch the program with an initial fleet of 3,000 bikes at 300 stations, growing to 4,000 bikes at 400 stations throughout the year. This past fall, residents had the opportunity to suggest where the bike-sharing kiosks would be located in Chicago. 

A recent Slate article by Tom Vanderbilt credits Gabe Klein with making DC’s program a success. Klein is now heading the Chicago Department of Transportation, bringing some of the lessons of bike sharing with him. For those who are interested in the nuts and bolts of a successful bike-sharing program and how it took shape in DC, Vanderbilt’s article is well worth your time.

As Chicago gets closer to launching its program, keep an eye on the Active Trans bike-sharing webpages for more information.

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