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Seattle Bike Share Program


As a student, I have found it impossible to walk to class without seeing at least a couple bike share bikes. You’ve probably seen them around: these green, yellow and orange bicycles have been introduced in a pilot program by the Seattle Department of Transportation to test whether dockless bike share can overcome the challenges that Pronto!, Seattle’s previous attempt at bike share did not address well. The relatively new SDOT pilot program, which provides permits for operation to three companies, has been extended through the end of 2018. The main question I would like to answer is: How can SDOT adequately update its bike share program policy after the pilot has ended to support the long-term viability of dockless bikeshare and address the concerns of the public while simultaneously continuing to encourage the dockless bikeshare model? In this project, I address what it will take for LimeBike, ofo, and Spin to become a logical business case for SDOT with support from citizens. I create solutions of how to solve some of the problems this new bikeshare model faces by utilizing urban design principles, transportation planning theory, and sustainable business models. By synthesizing interviews with bike share professionals and combining this human perspective with comprehensive qualitative and quantitative research on the topic, I provide specific recommendations for bike share permitting policy changes, infrastructure improvements, and business practice goals. By producing this set of recommendations, I hope to benefit the future of mobility in Seattle and ensure a lasting place for bike share in the urban fabric of our city.