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NACTO and the Better Bike Share Partnership release best practice guidance for engaging communities in mobility initiatives

Sep 26, 2018

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), an organization that represents 63 cities and 11 transit agencies across North America, and the Better Bike Share Partnership today released Strategies for Engaging Community (pdf), a practitioner’s guide to building meaningful and effective relationships with constituents and historically underserved communities. This guidance, developed by and for cities, community-based organizations, and shared active transportation operators, outlines strategies to engage with communities and offers examples and best practices for implementation.

“Building civic capacity means empowering the public to participate in every stage of the project lifecycle,” said Nicole Payne, Program Manager, Cities for Cycling at NACTO. “By reinforcing the idea that engagement is planning, we both advance the profession and produce more effective, successful outcomes.”

“As city DOTs around the country know, strong community engagement is the foundation of good projects,” said Linda Bailey, Executive Director of NACTO. “From bike share development to implementation and beyond, public engagement is critical to the planning process, and successful outcomes require collaboration with communities at all phases. The work highlighted in this report shows the breadth and depth of city understanding and commitment to making sure that transportation works for people. Written with the Better Bike Share Partnership, it is a key tool that can be used across a wide range of biking and transportation efforts.”

“Over the past four years, the Better Bike Share Partnership has helped cities, bike share operators, and advocates begin to dismantle historical and structural barriers to bike share use for low-income and communities of color,” said Waffiyah Murray, Program Manager at the Better Bike Share Partnership. “The wealth of examples and experiences from around the country shows the power in prioritizing the active inclusion of underrepresented groups. As we continue to institutionalize strategies to tackling mobility justice, building relationships through outreach and engagement stands as the foundation for successful outcomes.”

Grouping engagement efforts by three broad goals – increasing mobility access, getting more people on bikes, and increasing bike share awareness and support – the guidance outlines strategies, tools, and examples that can help ensure that bike share is relevant and useful to all users. Importantly, recognizing that mobility solutions are largely community-need driven, the guidance focuses on strategies and resources to help practitioners use bike share to support the human infrastructure in communities that have been historically underserved by transportation services. The guidance connects goals to intended outcomes and offers simple steps practitioners can take to develop programming and make meaningful connections throughout the communities they serve. Developed largely by bike share practitioners, this guidance can be applied broadly to many types of transportation planning.

“From the outset, finding ways to engage and connect with Philadelphians has been the foundation of our Indego bike share system,” said Mike Carroll, Deputy Manager for Transportation and Infrastructure, City of Philadelphia. “Philadelphia innovations, like cash bike share memberships, EBT card based discounts, or our Digital Thrills & Bicycle Skills trainings, are now the hallmarks of equity-focused bike share programs across the U.S. The City of Philadelphia is proud to be the birthplace of so many bike share best practices and to share our experience with cities around the country.”

“Explore Bike Share is wholly integrated into the thread of our community – the result of an intentional, dynamic engagement process,” said Sara Studdard, Community Engagement & Marketing Director at Explore Bike Share Memphis. “From inception to roll out, station site planning to bike unboxing, Memphians have taken ownership of our success. Our system hit the streets earlier this year and the huge outpouring of support would not have been possible without our investment in diverse in-person outreach programming, which ensures our bike share system will meet the needs of all members of our community.”

Read the report (pdf) >


About the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO)
NACTO is an association of 63 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.

About the Better Bike Share Partnership (BBSP)
The Better Bike Share Partnership is a collaboration funded by The JPB Foundation to advance equitable and replicable bike share systems. The partners include the City of Philadelphia, the Bicycle Coalition of Great Philadelphia, NACTO, and PeopleForBikes.

Nicole Payne | [email protected]