Bikeshare programs are fast becoming expected urban amenities in cities around the world – symbols of energetic and thriving urban places that attract smart and creative people.
The use of bikeshare programs by commuters, residents, and workers is well-documented, such as right here on our own site and our close partnership with Capital Bikeshare.
But what about bikeshare as a tourist amenity? Can bikeshare programs actually be promoted to attract tourists to cities, thereby expanding the economic benefits of the programs to cities? What is it like for tourists to use existing bikeshare programs? What are the challenges and what are the advantages? What can cities do to improve the bikeshare experience for tourists as a part of an overall economic development program?
European Vacation – Project Bikeshare aims to answer these questions. This summer, I am visiting – with a friend who is an architect and a fellow cyclist — nine European cities to experience each of their bikeshare systems from a tourist perspective.
We will write about the challenges, including membership process, cost, technology, and language. We will also write about the rewards of seeing these cities by bicycle, which is by far the best way to discover a new place.
The cities we will visit are as follows:
- UK: London
- France: Toulouse, Lyon, Dijon, Paris
- Sweden : Stockholm
- Estonia : Tallin
- Finland : Helsinki
- Russia: St. Petersburg
Some of these cities are still in the development phase of a bikeshare program, and we will discover if the systems are in operation when we get there. If they are not, we will strive to discover a timeline and the cities’ thoughts on bikeshare as a tourist draw.
Stay tuned to Mobility Lab, and please write in with any questions you would like us to ask on our journey. We hope our series will make you feel like you’re getting your own personal tour of Europe … by the seat of a bikeshare bike!