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Video: SmartBike DC Succeeds and Expands

A new video from EMBARQ shows the success of Washington's bike sharing program, SmartBike DC.

SmartBike stations have been installed throughout downtown DC. However, it may be hard to notice them because for now, it’s just a pilot program (the first in the country, in fact) and there are currently only 10 stations and 120 bikes. It’s still a very small yet increasingly important piece of the District’s transportation network.

EMBARQ produced a short video outlining SmartBike’s success:

The program, which is about one year old, allows subscribing members to take bikes from any station around the city and return it to any other. The program currently costs $40 per year. This eliminates concerns about the storage, upkeep, and cost of using a bike to get around the city. As EMBARQ's new video shows, SmartBike DC has been a major success. The 120 bikes have taken a total of over 11,000 trips in less than 10 months, showing that members are not only signing up but enthusiastically using the bike sharing program.

The District Department of Transportation is planning to expand the program dramatically. This is critical because the change will not only be quantitative, but qualitative. One of the SmartBike members interviewed in the video explains that the program appeals to her because there is a station right in front of both her apartment and her office. Currently, that isn’t true for most locations in the District. That’s about to change, with new kiosks both filling in the gaps between current SmartBike locations and expanding the program into new neighborhoods across the city. What's more, the new kiosks will largely be placed near Metro stations, allowing for much better intermodal service.

All that should go a long way towards transforming SmartBike from a perk of living in D.C. to something that could fundamentally transform the transportation system of the city.

This video was produced by EMBARQ--The WRI Center for Sustainable Transport, as part of a series on sustainable transportation best practices around the world. The first video in that series, "Muévete En Bici (Get On Your Bike)," presents Mexico City's initiative to shut down one of its busiest avenues in order to create a dedicated space for pedestrians and cyclists.

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