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What's Missing for Capital Bikeshare?

In a recent piece, Kristine Johnston reviews Washington D.C.'s Capital Bikeshare program and its accessibility for low-income, non-white populations.
September 13, 2014, 7am PDT | Maayan Dembo | @DJ_Mayjahn
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As featured earlier this week in the Georgetown Public Policy Review, Kristine Johnston responds to a Washington Post article highlighting the outreach Capital Bikeshare and some of its persistent barriers to reaching all of the District's population. According to Johnston, these challenges, "include language barriers, lack of money or credit among low-income residents, and limited interest in some neighborhoods." However, Johnston believes there are larger, more systemic issues as stake preventing some of the District's populations from joining Capital Bikeshare.

Mapping out bikeshare docking stations and neighborhood average yearly income, Johnston notes high densities of stations in wealthy downtown neighborhoods, with few and far between stations in those that are historically low-income. Looking further into the statistics, Johnston found that, "8 percent of Capital Bikeshare members have a household income below $35,000, while 45 percent live in households that earn more than $100,000. This compares to about 30 percent of the population in the District whose household annual income is less than $35,000, according to the 2012 American Community Survey... Only 3.5 percent of Capital Bikeshare members are African American, a group that comprises 25.8 percent of the population in the greater Washington, DC area."

In her piece, Johnston points to other research to show that, "among some low-income and minority groups there is a demand for bicycling as a mode of increased access and mobility, but there are major systemic barriers beyond affordability and access to stations that are preventing bicycling from becoming a main form of transportation in those areas."

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Published on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 in Georgetown Public Policy Review
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