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Bike Sharing Programs on Federal Lands

Project #: 4W2774
Start Date: 08/31/2009
End Date: 06/30/2011
Status: Completed

Federal Land Management Agencies (FLMAs) are becoming increasingly interested in non-motorized transportation to help manage congestion as well as to reach their public health and sustainability goals. One unique bike program that has gained in popularity in the past several years is bike sharing. Bike sharing is a mode of public transportation where a fleet of bicycles is made available for short-term use. Users generally check out and return bicycles to a network of stations. Modern bike-sharing systems make use of automated parking stations and bikes incorporate technology that allows fleet managers to confirm the identity of users and for users to be able to track their mileage and time utilized. These program have largely been implemented in large cities (Paris, Montreal, Washington, DC), however, a variety of bike programs are being considered by (FLMAs)to encourage employees and/or visitors to drive less and reduce their carbon footprint, while improving public health.
Federal land management agencies are exploring how bicycle programs can provide employees and visitors with more travel choices, while working toward their environmental, public health and sustainability goals. This report explores three options for making bicycles more readily available in Federal lands: public bicycle sharing programs, bicycle rental operations and employee bicycle fleets. Bicycle sharing programs are a form of public transportation, supplying bikes for short-term use through a network of automated bike parking stations. Bike rental programs are typically for-profit businesses that rent bikes for recreational use for a few hours up to several days. Employee fleets make bikes available to individuals associated with an organization to use for work, errands and/or recreation, usually at no cost. This report builds on previous work from The Guide to Promoting Bicycling on Federal Lands (FHWA, 2008a), which sought to raise awareness of the environmental, public health and resource management benefits of bicycling. This report presents various methods to make bikes more available in Federal lands through bike sharing programs, rentals and employee fleets. This report explores how elements of successful bike programs may be adapted for Federal lands settings.


This project will analyze the challenges bike sharing programs in some national parks and national wildlife refuges are facing, including liability and risk management, helmet use, business models, operations and maintenance, and funding mechanisms, and offer recommendations for Federal Land Management Agencies (FLMAs) interested in implementing bike sharing programs. The results can help transfer knowledge on this new technology among the FLMAs.


  • Rebecca Gleason
    Rebecca Gleason