From Montreal to Brussels to Taipei to Boston, bike-share systems have exploded around the globe – in fact, The Washington Post reports that from 2004 until 2015, bike-shares have grown from 13 programs to 855. The country with more shares than any other? China, with 237 systems.
The concept is straightforward: subscribers pay a fee (some are daily, weekly, monthly or annually) for access to borrow a bike from any station around a city. Hop on, ride to your destination, and return the bike to any nearby docking station. Bike-sharing’s goal around the globe, says a report by Georgetown Public Policy Review, is to integrate bicycles into a city’s transportation system, promote cycling and a healthy lifestyle, reduce congestion and improve air quality.
So what makes the systems tick? A white paper by the NAIOP Research Foundation says that web-based platforms enable bike-share companies to ensure operational effectiveness by shuttling bikes to popular nodes from less-used ones. Cyclists are able to locate available bikes and open docks via mobile apps, which also can provide them — and the bike-share company — with data on the length and time of a journey, frequency of use and popular destinations and activity nodes across cities.
For the metropolitan Washington, D.C., region (including near-in suburbs in Maryland and Virginia), Capital Bikeshare is expanding its fleet of more than 3,000 bikes and nearly 400 docking stations. The Post reports that the system has nearly 30,000 members surpassing 10.5 million trips – with demand increasing.
And where there’s demand … real estate isn’t far behind. In May, bike-share system Zagster announced that it formed partnership with NAI Hiffman, a suburban property management and brokerage firm, to offer bike sharing at Naperville Woods Office Center, a two-building, Class A asset located on a 31-acre campus in Naperville, Illinois. Employees who work on the campus can reserve and ride cruiser bikes, allowing them a healthy, convenient and fun way to run errands, grab lunch, attend meetings or just plain exercise.
Bike Portland says Key Development has proposed a 20,000-square-foot, $7 million commercial building that includes a bike-oriented retail plaza with a bike-through window. Pick up your latte and keep rolling.
Want to know how your property ranks? Walk Score is offering a new Bike Score based upon bike commuting mode shares and road connectivity, among other factors.
Kathryn Hamilton is Vice President for Marketing and Communications at NAIOP Corporate.