The City of New York after something like four years of looking, envying, cogitating, visiting, copying, adapting, hoping, planning, protesting, hesitating, adapting, postponing, innovating, negotiating, and finally getting the job done is about to open its doors for the grand opening of its new bike share project, Citi Bike.
The privately funded Citi Bike bike-share program is launching with 6,000 bikes at 330 docking stations in lower Manhattan and parts of Brooklyn. The plans are to expand to 10,000 bikes and 600 docking stations in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens.
But . . .
Is this a transportation project? A city project? A social project? Environmental? A money making project for someone?
Who is going to pay for it? How much? Why would a bank want to put their name on it? How will they get their “money” back”? What about the “externalities” are the brought into the equation in any way?
Who are the customers, all those people who are going to ride the bikes and pay something for them in the process ($95/year, roughly equal to 19 round trips on the subway)? Will they be old or young? Male or female? Rich or poor? New Yorkers, visitors? Regulars or occasionals?
Why did it take New York so long to do what on the surface looks like a good idea and which exists today in more than one hundred cities around the world, almost all of them sufficiently happy with what they have that they are most unlikely to go backward?
Who loves it? Who hates it and wishes it the worst? Who is puzzled and/or doesn’t care?
What we do know is that this is a true 21st century project. Just the kind of project that the members of this class should and quite possibly will get involved with. A bit of your future definitely in this.
Nice project for a master’s thesis.
* Official sponsor page http://www.citibikenyc.com/
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Bio: Trained as a development economist, Eric Britton is MD of EcoPlan International, an independent advisory network providing strategic counsel for government and business on policy and decision issues involving complex systems, social-technical change and sustainable development. His forthcoming book, “Toward a General Theory of Transport in Cities”, is being presented, discussed and critiqued in a series of international conferences, master classes, workshops and media events over 2014. (More at http://wp.me/PsKUY-2p7)