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Student Thesis and Dissertations

Seattle Bicycle Share Feasibility Study

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Publication: University of Washington, College of Built Environment, Department of Urban Planning and Design
Publication Date: 2011

This report assesses the feasibility of a public use bike-share system for Seattle, Washington. Colloquially referred to as “bike-share” or “bike-sharing,” such systems are considered a form of public transportation. Bike-share bicycles are intended for short-term use and are accessible via automated check-out systems. An important benefit of bike-share systems is the flexibility to return rented bicycles to any station within the system, thereby encouraging use for one-way travel and the “final mile” of a trip.

The four major chapters of this report represent the organization of our research and analysis. The topic areas are:

  • Introduction: Bike-share history and the structure of our study
  • Demand Analysis: Our analytic and forecast methodologies along with results of their application
  • Policy Framework: Consideration of governance institutions and their effects on system implementation
  • Bike-Share Program Recommendations: Summation of our findings and recommendations for how Seattle should proceed

During our analysis, we looked at demand for bike-share in Seattle. We have concluded that demand is sufficient to support a program. Our final recommendation includes three implementation phases, beginning with the downtown and surrounding neighborhoods.

However, despite anticipation of program demand, there are institutional policy challenges that must be addressed before successful implementation. Prominent among these are:

  • The King County helmet law
  • City of Seattle sign codes
  • Policies that affect station design and use of curbspace

In the case of the latter two, individual neighborhoods and districts may each have their own, unique impacts. Fortunately, Seattle has the flexibility to address these issues, and there are systems in place to overcome these challenges. Once addressed, we recommend the City move forward with implementing a bikeshare program.

Authors: Dr. Ed McCormack, Jennifer Gregerson, Max Hepp-Buchanan, Daniel Rowe, John Vander Sluis, Erica Wygonik, Michael Xenakis
Recommended Citation:
Gregerson, J., Hepp-Buchanan, M., Rowe, D., Vander Sluis, J., Wygonik, E., Xenakis, M., & McCormack, E. (2011). Seattle bicycle share feasibility study. University of Washington, College of Built Environment, Department of Urban Planning and Design.