Despite its notable successes, many forget that bike-sharing is still a relatively new phenomenon in the Unites States. As cities experiment with different models for funding their programs and expanding their bicycle infrastructure, bike-share systems in cities like Denver and Chicago have also struggled with the question of how to reach all segments of their population.
To better understand how different cities are working to meet this challenge, graduate student Darren Buck "asked managers of current and planned North American bike sharing systems what they have done to increase access to bike sharing for low-income communities, and minority groups disproportionately underrepresented in bicycling."
In a summary of his full paper (PDF), Buck highlights measures that different systems are pursuing to lower barriers to access. Strategies focus on such elements as station siting, community-specific marketing and outreach, financial assistance, membership media, safe places to ride, and overcoming bicycling barriers.