Published on February 21st, 2013 | by James Ayre4
Chattanooga Bike-Sharing Pilot Program A Big Success
February 21st, 2013 by James Ayre
The Chattanooga Bicycle Transit System, launched last July, has performed very well during its first 6 months, providing over 12,600 rides. This resulted in a roughly 8,100-pound reduction in emissions in the city. Because of the program’s success so far, three new stations will be opening up in the spring.
At first glance, the sprawling city of Chattanooga, Tennessee, doesn’t look like a good place to build a bike-sharing program. Without a strong culture of biking in place before the program, it has nonetheless been quite successful, fulfilling the goals set out by the planners: getting a lot of people to begin bicycling, improving air quality/getting vehicles off the road, and helping to improve peoples’ health.
A lot of the program’s success is probably down to the planning — studies on bike-sharing in the city began back in 2007. Based on surveys done during that time, more than 75% of residents expressed some interest in the program.
“We felt fairly confident that people would try this,” Chattanooga Bike Coordinator Philip Pugliese said. “We’re pretty happy, all things considered.”
The system currently consists of “30 stations and 300 bikes dispersed around a 2.5-square mile area of downtown,” Streetsblog DC notes.
There are currently many other similarly sized cities looking to roll out bike-sharing programs similar to Chattanooga’s within the next couple of years. These include Bridgeport, Connecticut; Portland, Maine; and Fort Collins, Colorado. Such programs, if well designed, can be very effective at reducing air pollution, taking cars off the road, and improving the general health of the population.