Bicycle Justice or Just Bicycles? Analyzing Equity in Baltimore's Bike Share Program

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Journal Article

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Bike share systems have become a common feature of the modern urban landscape and provide residents and visitors with an active transportation mode. Yet these systems have sustained equity-focused criticism for serving a narrow demographic band of residents and visitors, while others lack access and face barriers to usage. The City of Baltimore, Maryland, launched a bike share system in 2016. This study evaluates Baltimore’s new system from an equity-focused lens using two complementary approaches. The first approach, which is a GIS-based equity gap analysis, develops a population-density-normalized Bike Equity Index to quantitatively assess the spatial distribution of the city’s bicycle infrastructure supply and how it serves (or doesn’t serve) Baltimore’s transit-dependent and environmental justice communities. The second analytic orientation, which applies a user and barrier analysis, utilizes survey data to identify the low-equity groups and the variables that limit (or don’t limit) their demand for the city’s bike share program. When combined, the two perspectives—one top-down and the other bottom-up—present a more comprehensive picture and nuanced understanding of the current system’s equity performance.



Comments/Extra Notes

Additional author: Connolly, Faith


Department of Transportation and Urban Infrastructure at Morgan State University