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Citi-Bike: Promoting Sustainable Transportation (Term Paper Sample)


the task required an examination of how biking enhances sustainable TRANSPORTATION, historical development and future of biking.


Citi-Bike: Promoting Sustainable Transportation
Class Information
The growing concern over the state of the environment in and human health have underpinned the upsurge of interests on bicycle transportation. Global warming, climatic changes, and many other adverse effects of pollution have been growing at an alarming rate; making it necessary to find ways of reducing wasteful consumption as well as cutting on dependence on fossil fuel. Similarly, lifestyles that lack optimal physical activity have contributed to many health problems. Accordingly, different players have promoted inclusion of bicycles in the transport system as a means of mitigating some of these chronic problems threatening the existence of humankind. Nonetheless, the role of bicycles in transport remains uninvestigated as widely. Citi Bike has championed the exploitation of bicycles as a means of achieving sustainable transportation.
Bicycles have been used as a means of transport since early 19th century. Since then, cycling has been improved though innovations and improvements that have resulted in the modern day bicycles that suit various needs. Despite being a once praised invention that leveraged land transport, bicycles have never won much attention and need throughout the world as it does presently. The increased human activities have created a void, like never before, that has prompted the world to reevaluate the position of bicycles.
History of bicycle transport
While bicycles have been part of the transport system for over a century, bike-sharing system can be dated to about five decades ago, and it grew in three generations. The first generation of the system was started in Amsterdam in in 1965 with the White Bikes.[2009] [Schimmepennick 2009]
In this program, ordinary bicycles were painted white and then availed for public usage. This program allowed an individual to pick a bike, ride it to their destination from where a subsequent user could pick it. Nonetheless, the system was not quite successful. Users sometimes appropriated bikes for private purposes or dumped them into canals. All these made the collapse of the bike share system inevitable within days.[2009]
A second generation of the system was started in Denmark. The first phase was rolled in 1991 in Farsø and Grenå and the two years later, another program kicked off in Naskov. While these were remarkable advancements over the first generation of bike share system, the programs were still small with Naskov comprising only four stations and less than 30 bikes. In 1995, the largest second generation and the first large scale bike share program was initiated. The program was launched in Copenhagen and the bikes were termed Bycyklen. This program not only availed more bikes but also improved the bicycles relative to the previous generation.[Nielse 1993] [Niele]
Copenhagen bikes were designed for intense utilitarian use which was enabled by solid rubber tires in addition to wheels that were fitted with advertising plates. Also, a coin deposit enabled users to pick up and return the bikes to isolated locations that were spread across the central city. This program was also leveraged by its formal setting, stations, and a nonprofit organization running it. Nonetheless, there was a serious flaw in this system that motivated theft of bikes since users remained anonymous. To seal this gap, there was need for an improved system, sophisticated enough to track customers while they used the bikes.[Ibid] [ibid]
Indeed, in 1996 Bikeabout championed the development of third generation bikes as seen in Portsmouth University, England. Bikeabout allowed students to use magnetic stripe cards in renting bikes. With Bikeout being the first, in this category, subsequent bike share programs were smartened with various advanced technologies. These included smart bike locking systems, “telecommunication systems, smartcards and fobs, mobile phone access, and on-board computers”. Apparently, bike sharing systems did not stop here.[ibid]
In the following years, bike sharing programs grew bit by bit while improving on the previous weaknesses of previous systems. Examples of these pragmas included Vélo à la Carte, started in France in 1998 and Call a Bike that was launched in 2000 in Munich. In 2005, however, the third generation bike sharing took a new turn especially with the launch of Velo’v. JCDecaux started what would turn out to be the largest bike sharing program in the category of third generation biking system – Velo’v in Lyon with 1,500 bikes, 15,000 members, and daily bike sharing averaging six times for every bike .,[] [Henley]
In 2007, Paris extended the growth of bike sharing program by launching Vélib’. Vélib’ consisted of 7,000 bikes at the onset of the program and the bike count was later expanded to 23,000. The massive growth third generation bike sharing programs in the transport sector attracted more interest globally and other countries like Brazil, China, New Zealand, South, and America (list not exhaustive) introduced their own initial, third generation bike sharing program. By the end of the same year, there existed an estimated 60 third generation programs worldwide, about 120 programs in 2009, and about 1188 programs by end 2016.,, Clearly, the world is increasingly growing conscious of the role of bicycles in as a transit mode.[2009] [2009] [DeMaio 2007] [2009] [MetroBike]
Impact of bike sharing
While many would disguise cycling as a desperate activity of the poor who cannot afford decent drives, the need for these manually operated bikes is on the rise. For one, bicycles are comparatively more affordable than motorbikes or vehicles. Secondly, the operating costs of motor vehicles have shot way past the income of many individuals, especially the increasing oil. Also, a bicycle is quite convenient in the short distance travelling and in navigating poor rods that vehicles cannot be driven through. While the list is long, it is pertinent illustrate the concept of sustainable transportation.
Sustainability connotes the ability to utilize a resource in a manner that not only meets the intended need but also does not result into depletion. As such, sustainable transportation is that which meets the mobility needs of residents of a given place. Besides, this type of transportation offers affordable, equitable, and efficient options of transport. The alternatives for commuting should “guarantee low-cost and low-pollution option to a wide range of individuals”. In the other words, the system of transportation should be easier, cleaner, and healthier for the users and their successors; a description that bikes match better.[Kisner, Corinne. "Integrating Bike Share Programs into a Sustainable Transportation System."]
Citi Bike plays an indispensable role to establishing a tenable transportation through a bike share system. Using an automated, public, bicycle rental program, the company has hundreds of stations across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and Jersey City that store commuter bikes. This form of public transit offers bike rental services and complements bus routes and subways. To register, users are charged reasonable daily, weekly, monthly, or annual fees that enable them to unlock bikes the racks, embark on their journeys, and then check in the bikes at any authorized station.
The organization has employed technology to enable and improve service delivery in bike sharing. In today, users in a number of cities within the United States can use smart phone applications that allow them to view the location of any station near them from which they can unlock a bike. Besides, they are able to check the availability of bikes in that particular station. To keep the bikes in circulation and to maximize utility for short trips, the company uses pricing technique.
One concern of every environmentally conscious consumer is the increasing pollution that jeopardizes the very survival of both plants and animals. The transport sector is a notorious culprit in the increased rate of air pollution. Carbon dioxide emissions are even high in cities where vehicles are highly concentrated. The pervasive traffic snarl-ups in urban centers further exasperate emissions dilemma. Cycling reduces dependence on fossil fuels thereby decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Bicycles are not only fifty percent faster than cars during traffic snarl-ups but also reduce gas emissions from urban transportation by about ten percent.[Rissel, Chris. "Health benefits of cycling." Cycling Futures,]
Vehicles not only sabotage the environment through the emissions alone. The tons of waste products from a car manufacturing company by far outweigh that produced in a bike manufacturing companies. The enormous volumes of wastes have resulted in land refills that extend pollution over very many years. Additionally, the factories emit several millions of air pollutants each year, a height that bicycle producers are not anywhere near. Likewise, the gallons of paints used in vehicles have contributed significantly to biodegradation.[Buis, Jeroen, Roelof Wittink, and Saskia Hermans. The Economic Significance of Cycling: A Study to Illustrate the Costs and Benefits of Cycling Policy]
Bicycles promote sustainability by guaranteeing low-cost public transit option for users. Ostensibly, the initial cost of acquiring a bike is lower and a majority of the populace can afford one despite their economic status. In addition, the maintenance cost of a car exceeds that of a bike in multifold ways. Despite the obvious difference in the purchasing price of a vehicle and a bike, the latter require additional gas to travel any given distance. The City-Bike sharing program further enables nearly anyone to take control of his or her transport needs a...
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