Biking through Orange County’s canyons, along the beachside trails and in the lanes that parallel our streets, is a reminder that transportation doesn’t necessarily require four wheels.
In Southern California especially, we are blessed with year-round weather that promotes the active lifestyle of cycling. And with more than 1,000 miles of bikeways in our county and an additional 700 miles planned, biking to work has emerged as a viable alternative to driving.
Utilizing bicycles as a commuting option is gaining more appeal around the world with 136 bike-sharing programs reported to be in place in 2011. The U.S. claims a fraction of those, and aside from some university and large employer programs, California has no bike sharing options.
At Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), we are preparing to implement a bike-sharing program, providing the public with the benefits commuting by bike can offer, and ultimately, taking cars off the road, easing traffic and improving the environment.
Successful bike-sharing systems are located in medium- or high-density areas like the ones in place in Washington, D.C.; Boston; Denver and Philadelphia. They create connectivity between transit hubs, business centers, tourist destinations and housing.
Keeping with industry best practices, OCTA is beginning our pilot program in Fullerton, a city of nearly 140,000 and home to California State University, Fullerton and Fullerton College, a pedestrian-friendly downtown with a transit hub and transit-oriented development. It has the bikeways, density and local support needed.
The initial program is envisioned to be comprised of 15 stations and 150 bicycles with annual, monthly, weekly and daily subscriptions available. OCTA is currently in the process of hiring a firm to implement the pilot program, which is anticipated to roll out this summer.
The city of Anaheim, located in Orange County, also is planning to implement a pilot bike-sharing program this year. The system will serve major activity and destination centers that could include the convention center, Angel Stadium of Anaheim and the Disneyland Resort.
As commuters continue to explore this healthy, money-saving alternative, they will look to transit agencies and municipalities to lead the bike-to-work movement and introduce bike-sharing programs in their communities.
In case you missed it...
Read our METRO blog, "Bus deaths prompt uneasy questions about responsibility" here.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority’s Regional (commuter) Rail system was inherited from the Pennsylvania and Reading Railroads and the infrastructure in many sections of the system has been serving the Philadelphia area for more than 100 years. Fifteen years ago, overhead catenary system (OCS) failures were a common occurrence on SEPTA Regional Rail, a result of fatigue cracks and wear. The all too common OCS failures were frustrating for SEPTA customers who occasionally found it difficult to depend on train service for their travels and for SEPTA, whose crews were constantly working to repair and maintain the system.
London is one of the grand cities of the world and in the midst of the cycling revolution. Led by the city’s transport organization – Transport for London, but supported by more fundamental changes in the city’s society, economy and perceptions of lifestyle and mobility, cycling is “on a roll”!
Tech-enabled ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft already appear to be acting as a complement to public transit. Uber analyzed its Los Angeles trip data to in this light. Over the course of a month, Uber found that 22 percent of trips taken near Metro stations took place during rush hour (between 7 a.m. and 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday). This data could be telling us that people are using Uber like they might use bikeshare, as a last-mile and first-mile connection to transit.
Driverless cars have been in the news for quite some time. Last September, I speculated in PC 360, an insurance trade magazine, that insurance premiums for autos could decrease by as much as 40% over the next five years as autonomous cars made travel much safer. I increased my estimate to a 75% decrease in insurance premiums by extending the timeline to 15 years. When I wrote those two articles, I remember thinking how much of a personal paradigm shift was needed to accept a driverless car as safe. Now, it appears that driverless buses are in the near future as well.
What do transit authorities like SEPTA, MBTA, MTA and BART have in common other than transporting thousands, even millions of riders every day? All were recently ranked as four of the U.S.’s 500 “Best Employers” by Forbes magazine.
SEPTA, MBTA, MTA and BART were among 25 organizations included in Forbes’ “Transportation & Logistics” category, along with Southwest Airlines, Amtrak, CSX, Union Pacific and Greyhound. In fact, SEPTA (#33) and MBTA (#49) placed higher than Apple (#55) and SEPTA was the highest ranked company in Pennsylvania.