As shared dockless bikes and scooters proliferate on city streets, guidelines aim to ensure the best outcomes for the public
The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), an organization that represents 62 cities and 11 transit agencies across North America, today released city-developed comprehensive guidance to help cities regulate and manage new shared active transportation companies, from dockless bike share bikes to electric scooters. The new guidance, funded by the Better Bike Share Partnership, shows how cities can effectively manage shared active transportation companies in the public right-of-way, while allowing for flexibility and experimentation to welcome new mobility choices on city streets.
Over the past decade, Shared Active Transportation systems have become a common sight on North American public streets and right-of-way, with 35 million bike share trips taken on 100,000 bike share bikes in 2017. Many of the most intensely-used systems were created through public-private partnerships, or otherwise heavily overseen by local governments. In the past year and half, however, an increasing number of new providers have begun operating on city streets without strong oversight by local entities, making it difficult to quantify the benefits and impact of these new services.
NACTO’s Guidelines for the Regulation and Management of Shared Active Transportation provide standards for cities to manage companies that are not otherwise overseen or selected through competitive procurement processes or contracts, and sets minimum standards that all cities should require for managing this new industry on city streets, including:
- permitting frameworks,
- city/company communication mechanisms,
- standards for communicating with the public,
- data requirements,
- minimum equipment safety standards, and
- customer privacy standards.
In addition to policy areas where all cities should be in alignment, the NACTO Guidelines for the Regulation and Management of Shared Active Transportation detail where cities and policy makers should evaluate conditions at a local level, including parking options—from lock-to requirements to dedicated street space for Shared Active Transportation—and community engagement programs. The guidelines identify incentive-based permitting mechanisms that cities are using to encourage companies to provide service that meets their mobility and equity goals.
The guidelines also include an overview of the state-of-practice from cities across the U.S. that are currently regulating Shared Active Transportation providers, from fleet size and service area restrictions, to permit fees and equitable distribution requirements. Examples include minimum numbers of rides per bike per day before companies are permitted to expand, and distribution requirements that ensure that new mobility options equitably reach diverse communities in cities.
“Bike share is a true transportation success story in cities, with over 130 million rides to date in just a few years,” said Linda Bailey, Executive Director of NACTO. “Bike share, and other active transportation systems, have been most successful when they are planned hand-in-hand with cities. NACTO’s new guidelines, developed with cities from across the country, will enable this success to continue with ever-more types of Shared Active Transportation providers and companies, and provide exciting new mobility options for all types of people in our cities.”
“Data is policy. NACTO’s guidelines for the management of dockless bikes, scooters, and other Shared Active Transportation allow cities to take proactive planning measures that will allow our city streets to be flexible, vibrant, and meet the needs of everyone in our diverse communities,” said Seleta Reynolds, General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and NACTO President. “Robust data requirements, like LA’s Mobility Data Specification on Github, are key to aligning public benefit with the wide array of new innovative mobility options in our cities.”
“Chicagoans have enthusiastically embraced bike sharing – with over 15 million rides taken by Divvy’s 5th birthday,” said Rebekah Scheinfeld, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Transportation. “While we’re piloting dockless bike share to provide more commuters with access to bikes and test out this new technology in our neighborhoods, we want to build on—and not undercut—Divvy’s incredible success. Working together with the coalition of NACTO cities helped us craft the right approach for Chicago, while maintaining a robust, well-used, and now iconic transportation option for the tens of thousands of Chicagoans who ride a bike every day.”
“From the outset, we wanted to ensure that bike share in St. Louis enhanced equity in transportation,” said Scott Ogilvie, 24th Ward Alderman in St. Louis. “Our strong requirements for bike share companies operating here will help provide real transportation options in underserved communities. Equity is essential to build city-wide support for bike share. We’re thrilled to have contributed to guidelines for Shared Active Transportation that put public benefit first.”
“Austin is proud to have hosted NACTO cities from across the country to collaborate on guidelines creating a clear, proactive approach to welcoming and managing new and existing Shared Active Transportation companies,” said Robert Spillar, Director of the Austin Transportation Department. “From docked and dockless bike share, to scooters and more, we are excited to have these city-focused guidelines as we continue to look for ways to ensure that mobility and the public good remain in the forefront of transportation policy here in Austin.”
NACTO’s guidance was initially developed at the Better Bike Share Partnership/NACTO Cities-Only Roundtable in Austin, TX and written by a steering group of cities with Shared Active Transportation providers on their streets. As the Shared Active Transportation industry is rapidly changing, the guidance will be reviewed and updated periodically.
NACTO’s Guidelines for the Regulation and Management of Shared Active Transportation can be downloaded at nacto.org/home/shared-active-transportation-guidelines.
About the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)
NACTO is an association of 62 major North American cities and 11 transit agencies formed to exchange transportation ideas, insights, and practices and cooperatively approach national transportation issues. The organization’s mission is to build cities as places for people, with safe, sustainable, accessible, and equitable transportation choices that support a strong economy and vibrant quality of life.
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