By Mark Plotz

Today, in more than a dozen cities, anyone with a credit card, the patience to flip through endless disclaimer screens, and the foolhardiness to mix it up with the buses, cars, taxis, and other bikers, can enjoy the simply pleasure of riding a bicycle. Guess what happens when cycling is made easy, inexpensive, and attractive: people ride. That result of this grand experiment is causing us to rethink who is a cyclist and, as a consequence, whether we should be giving more deference to bicycling–racks, cycletracks, bike lanes, building access, etc–in our urban areas.

More than just changing the way we move, data produced by bike share systems are teaching us lessons about who, how, and where we ride. This same data is allowing us to understand who is not riding, which is just as important, and leads us to ask whether bike share should continue along in the for-profit paradigm or if it should be operated as public transportation with the accompanying obligation to provide equal access for all.

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Fun with Bay Area Bike Share in San Jose, CA! photo credit: Richard Masoner via Flickr (CC)

Pro Walk/Pro Bike/Pro Place 2014 will offer eight breakout sessions that will explore these questions, and share best practices from those who research, plan, operate, and evaluate public bike shares systems both large and small. Preview the sessions below, and register by July 11 to take advantage of our Early Summer rate.

Taking Bike Share to the Next Level

Bike sharing systems have attracted more people to cycling in cities around the world than any other facility or policy, with 600 new systems implemented in the last 7 years. This session focuses on new planning research, bike share technologies, and management approaches that can take bike sharing to a whole new level of utility.

Jacob Mason, ITDP; Colin Hughes, Institute for Transportation & Development Policy

The Tires Are Getting Pumped and So Are We: Bikeshare in Small to Mid-sized Cities

Bikeshare has become integral to the fabric of urban life and quietly flourished in dozens of small and mid-sized cities. This presentation will address the unique opportunities and challenges of planning, launching, and operating a vibrant and financially-sustainable bikeshare program in a smaller market.

Mauricio Hernandez, Toole Design Group; Stefanie deOlloqui, Active Living & Transportation Network; Phil Goff, Alta Planning + Design; Lindsey West, Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham; Bart Yavorosky, Pittsburgh Bike Share

Equity in Bike Share: Practical Methods for Addressing Equity and Measuring Outcomes

Bike share systems have experienced enormous success, but too few are reaching the vulnerable populations most in need of healthy, affordable travel options. Learn about ways Chicago and Hudson County are using heat mapping methods, modeling, and other metrics to create more equitable bike share systems.

Morgan Whitcomb, Sam Schwartz Engineering

Downloads, Dashboards and Delimited Files: The ABC’s of Open Bike Share Data Distribution

This session will focus on the options, methods, challenges, benefits and potential pitfalls of releasing bike share system data for public consumption and analysis.

Heath Maddox, San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency; Kim Lucas, DDOT

Bike Share as Public Transportation: Research, Policy, and Practice

From first mile to last mile, this session will explore the role of bicycle sharing systems in supporting and promoting traditional public transportation networks large and small.

Philip Pugliese, Association of Pedestrian & Bicycle Professionals; Darren Buck, DC Department of Transportation; Rich Weaver, American Public Transportation Association

Bike Share: A City and University Partnership in Ann Arbor, Michigan

The Ann Arbor bike share system will be a new town/gown model partnership of municipal and university stakeholders. The presentation will focus on strategies that universities and municipalities can use to launch bike sharing programs.

Kevin Mulder, ArborBike

Using Congestion Management and Air Quality Funds to Fund Bikesharing Programs

This session will discuss the challenges of working within federal funding rules, managing expectations of grant recipients and members of the public.

Michael Jackson, Maryland Department of Transportation

Bike Share and Walkability Programs for Rural and Smaller Communities

Bike share and walking programs that can be duplicated in rural and smaller communities for a small investment.

Peggy Schmidt, The Partnership TMA of Montgomery County