On the heels of the launch of Hubway, Boston’s bike share program, it appears Portland will be getting one its own. Last week, the City Council approved in a 4-1 vote and $9 million dollar spending package, which includes $2 million for a bicycle share system. To date, Boston, Washington DC, and Minneapolis are the only major US cities to implement bike sharing systems. San Francisco is scheduled to join the bunch in spring 2012 and New York City is narrowing down its set of proposals with expected launch in the same timeframe.
Portland Bureau of Transportation notes that bike sharing has progressed through three generations:
- 1st generation: no-tech, unstructured approach found in Amsterdam in the 1960s.
- 2nd generation: low-tech, moderate expense like City Bike in Copenhagen and Helsinki
- 3rd generation: high-tech and more expensive ($500 - $5500 per bike), including use of Smart Card technology. Allow tracking of bikes.
Portland’s system would likely be of the 3rd generation type. Guangzhou and Hangzhou’s systems and Barcelona’s Bicing are of this type as well. Barcelona recently published a study indicating the safety aspects of its system – it claims 12+ lives a year are being saved as a result of the program.
- Terra Curtis