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Portland State wins $75,000 grant to study bike share equity programs

(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

You can add another bike-related topic that researchers at Portland State University have gained national notoriety for: equity in bike share systems.

PSU’s Transportation Research and Education Consortium (TREC) just won a grant worth nearly $75,000 from the Better Bike Share Partnership. The award, announced today by People for Bikes, is part of $410,000 split between eight projects across the country.

The money will go toward a “national assessment of bike share equity programs.” Here’s more about the project:

Portland State’s research team will document the programs and strategies developed to address equity in bike share across the U.S., and identify the definitions and measures of success for each of these efforts. The result will be a catalog of equity approaches employed, an aggregated summary of key elements of each approach or strategy, and a record of which metrics agencies used to assess if they are meeting their equity goals, along with the various ways agencies are assessing their programs.

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As bike share systems have become more common, providers, governments, and advocates want to make sure its benefits are distributed fairly across all races and income levels. Aspects of systems like; where the bikes are deployed, how they’re paid for, and how much they cost to use, can all have a significant impact on which communities get the most out of them.

“Cities, bike share operators, and community-based partners are eager for best practices and support to make bicycling and bike share more accessible and available to people of color and low-income communities,” said Zoe Kircos, Director of Grants and Partnerships at People For Bikes.

TREC is no stranger to the field of bike share equity. In 2017 they completed a three-part research project that aimed to make bike share systems more equitable. That research focused on the people who use and live near bike share systems.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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