Ridership of Houston's bike share grew 65% last year - an example of what can happen in car-centric cities like . . . the ones we have in Missouri? | FastCompany

Headlines are quick hits from media outlets from Missouri and around the world. Follow the headline link for the full story. The source of this headline says:

If ridership changes across bike-share systems in the U.S. from last year to now were mapped, Houston would pull the whole chart out of alignment. The local system, BCycle, which is run as a nonprofit, saw an over 65% increase in trips taken compared to this time last year. Much of that is due to the fact that last year the system doubled in size to reach more riders.

In 2016, Houston BCycle secured a $3.5 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration, which was delivered through the Texas Department of Transportation to fund the system expansion. . . . Last year, annual ridership hovered around 165,858 trips, and just a few months into 2019, BCycle is projecting, based off current numbers, that the number of rides this year will top 250,000.

That’s a huge jump for any bike-share system, but especially significant in Houston, which is one of the U.S.’s most car-dominant cities: Just around 7% of city residents walk, bike, or take transit to work, according to the last Census count. “You can just look at those numbers–it’s clear people love their cars,” says Henry Morris, Houston BCycle’s director of development and communications. . . .

BCycle now estimates it’s at 53% one-way ridership, a significant rise in people viewing bikes as a way to get around the city. . . . BCycle has deliberately designed its expansion to encourage this. Through the grant, Houston BCycle has been able to put in what they call “mini-networks”: deliberately planned clusters of bike-share stations in neighborhoods or areas that previously lacked access.

MoBikeFed comment: The situation in "car-centric" Houston is a great example of the type of change groups like Trailnet and BikeWalkKC are working towards in the very, very similar Missouri cities of St. Louis and Kansas City.

Both cities--as is the case with most other Missouri cities--are very car-centric and over the years, not much thought or investment has been given to other transportation options.

One reason BikeWalkKC was so committed to the concept of bike share in Kansas City--leading them to start Kansas City BCycle and commit considerable resources to running and expanding the bike share system--is that they saw the transformative potential of bike share for a city like Kansas City.


It's made a major difference in the city--as has bike share in places like St Joseph, Jefferson City, and Columbia.

In St. Louis, after an experiment with dockless bike share systems, bike share seems dead for now.

So--when will a Missouri city see a really transformative bike share program like Houston BCycle?

Probably it will take a major investment in bike share, as we saw with TXDOT in Houston.

These investments cost a fraction of the cost of other transportation options, and pay tremendous dividends.

If they can do it in Texas, we can do it here in Missouri!