Provide access to healthy last-mile transportation options by prioritizing installation of bike share stations in low income, disinvested and disconnected neighborhood.
Transportation accounts for 31% of City of Atlanta’s total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The City of Atlanta has committed to reduce GHG produced by transportation 20% from 2009 baseline by 2020 and 40% by 2030. Driving down the amount of Vehicle Miles Traveled (VMT) by enticing people to get out of their cars is a critical to reducing GHG emissions.
Image Credit: Atlanta’s Transportation Plan
Drive-alone commutes comprise 69% of the City of Atlanta’s mode share. Meanwhile, Atlanta’s transit only mode share accounts for 10% compared to 37%, 20%, and 28% in Washington, DC, Seattle, and Chicago, respectively.
Atlanta’s bike share system presents a safe and clean solution to replace car trips and connect people to MARTA bus and rail. Bike share makes one-way bike trips possible and eliminates some barriers to riding, such as ownership and storage. In order for bike share to succeed, the system needs a uniformly high station density across all types of neighborhoods.
Launched in 2016, the City of Atlanta’s bike share system has expanded relatively quickly, from 22 stations to 65 stations in one year. A high proportion of bike share stations are located in neighborhoods that have been designated Equitable Target Areas (ETA), a powerful tool created by the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC) to “better identify and understand communities with large minority or low-income populations.”
Figure 1. Bike share station locations and Equitable Target Areas. Source: The Atlanta Region’s Plan.
While the proportion of stations are greater in ETAs, station density tends to be greater on the east side of the city. Station density in “high” ETAs concentrated in the west and southside is roughly zero.
People use bike share when it is easy to access. NACTO recommends 28 stations per sq. mile to effectively provide convenient travel options. Atlanta’s bike share stations have the highest density in Downtown and parts of Midtown, up to approximately 17 stations per square mile. By evaluating the percent of area that is within a convenient walking distance (1,000 feet), we can identify areas where station infills would have the greatest impact and increase the number of stations per square mile in ETAs.
Figure 2. Bike share station density per sq. mile. Source: Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.
Figure 3. Convenience Analysis of bike share in Atlanta. Source: Atlanta Bicycle Coalition.
The Atlanta Bicycle Coalition recommends that elected officials:
Provide access to healthy and meaningful last mile transportation options by expanding the bike share system to reach low income, disinvested, and disconnected neighborhoods in Equitable Target Areas.
Prioritize installation of bike stations in ETAs to reach 28 stations/sq. miles by adding infill stations throughout coverage area.
Ensure there are evenly spread walkable stations (a station every 1,000 feet) to make bike share accessible. The station spacing should remain consistent in all types of neighborhoods, including low income neighborhoods.