Bike Share Equity for Underrepresented Groups: Analyzing Barriers to System Usage in Baltimore, Maryland

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Journal Article

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Bike share systems are a standard feature of the urban mobility ecosystem but they have received criticism for serving a narrow demographic band of residents and visitors while underrepresenting others. This analysis employed Chi-square and multivariate linear regression analyses to understand effect sizes associated with how various demographic groups in Baltimore, MD perceive barriers to utilizing the city’s new Baltimore Bike Share (BBS) system. The analysis revealed that people of color, Hispanics, the less-educated, females, low income earners, and the unemployed are underrepresented in system membership. Regression analysis of non-user survey data suggested that nonwhite individuals are associated with a moderate increase in perceiving BBS to be challenging when riding with children or cargo. Being female is associated with concerns about system use, the ability to ride comfortably, maintaining personal hygiene, being a victim of crime or harassment, and an overall lack of interest in biking in Baltimore. Identifying as having low income or less education was not observed to be associated with any of the barrier conditions examined in this study. These findings can be leveraged to develop programs and policies to improve participation rates within underrepresented groups and enhance system equity.