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Docked, Dockless, & Hybrid — Exploring The Different Models of Shared Micromobility

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Docked, Dockless, & Hybrid — Exploring The Totally different Fashions of Shared Micromobility


Printed on December twenty sixth, 2020 |
by Visitor Contributor

December twenty sixth, 2020 by Guest Contributor 

By Barrett Brown

Within the fall of 2020, Lyft, working with the Metropolis of Portland, dramatically expanded and upgraded Portland, Oregon’s bikeshare system, known as Biketown. The enlargement included including a further 13-square mile space for town and the introduction of a wholly electrical fleet, solidifying Biketown’s distinctive relevance amongst bikeshare techniques (try our nonprofit’s cool 2-minute video on the system here.) This received us fascinated with the completely different fashions of shared micromobility we’ve seen in cities up to now — docked, dockless, and hybrid — and what are a few of the strengths and weaknesses of every.

Absolutely docked-based techniques

Bigger American cities like New York and San Francisco have embraced a totally dock-based system which is extra environment friendly to handle, resulting in increased reliability for the client. These techniques are extraordinarily dense and a buyer isn’t various blocks away from a station — for instance, in New York, there’s a mean of 28 per sq. mile. This permits customers to depend on the system as they’d another type of mass transit, resulting in excessive charges of use for commuting. 

Citibike in NYC bikesharing

Citibike in NYC has a mean of 28 stations per sq. mile. Picture courtesy of citibike

Knowledge from the Nationwide Affiliation of Metropolis Transportation Officers (NACTO) reveals that station-based bikeshare techniques expertise their highest ridership in the course of the morning and afternoon rush hours. Moreover, these techniques are extra closely used in the course of the weekdays than their dockless counterparts, suggesting that station-based bikeshare techniques are extra possible for use for commuting. 

Though these techniques function an ideal instance of how person habits will be spurred by way of operation reliability, they don’t seem to be simply replicated in much less densely-populated cities. NACTO states, “Smaller station-based bike share techniques and not using a dense community of stations or a lot of bikes had low car utilization charges, because the components that make a motorbike share system profitable — a excessive variety of bikes conveniently positioned over a big space — have been absent.”

Dockless techniques

Over the previous few years, quite a few dockless micromobility suppliers have launched applications in much less densely populated cities, nonetheless. Knowledge from NACTO recommend they’re extra sometimes used for recreation on weekends than by commuters. 

Dockless techniques additionally current challenges for metropolis planners, as they’re usually confronted with the prospect of regulating a whole lot if not hundreds of bikes or scooters scattered throughout the panorama. Much like Portland’s system Biketown, these techniques place the know-how within the car itself as a substitute of a station, permitting bikes or scooters to be remotely unlocked and used. 

Dock and Dockless System Hybrid

Portland Biketown bikesharing

Portland’s Biketown is a hybrid system with each docked and dockless capabilities. Picture from Forth.

Biketown, Portland’s bikeshare system, started its life in 2017 distinctive amongst bikeshares, because it was the primary main one to incorporate each the reliability of a dock-based system and the pliability of a free-floating one. Customers can entry the bikes at one of many 180 stations positioned all throughout town or can discover free-floating ones on their telephones. If they carry it again to a station, it’s free to park it, or if somebody doesn’t need to park it at a station, they’ll lock it at any bike rack within the service space for a further $1. 

Within the first month of Biketown’s operation, customers took roughly 59,000 journeys totalling 136,000 miles, exceeding all expectations. In 2018, the system grew to incorporate 147 stations, with almost 400,000 rides being accomplished in that 12 months. Biketown’s fairness program, Biketown for All, additionally expanded, with 495 energetic members who accomplished 36,089 journeys. 

However as shared electrical scooters and electrical bikes began to dominate the scene, out of the blue Portland’s Biketown — with its heavy, 45-pound bikes — wanted a refresh. 

In the summertime of 2020, Lyft and the Metropolis of Portland introduced that they’d be upgrading all the Biketown fleet to electrical bikes. The hope is that this may considerably improve entry to shared bikes amongst those that might not think about themselves “cyclists.”  This enlargement included rising the geographical footprint of the system by 13 sq. miles and including a number of traditionally underserved neighborhoods into the working space. These dramatic enhancements, along with the hybrid nature of the system, make the brand new Biketown actually revolutionary. Key boundaries to entry have been eliminated, and with correct regulation from town, Biketown has the potential to turn into a “gold commonplace” for bikeshare in much less densely populated city areas. Try our video of how Biketown works and tell us in regards to the shared micromobility in your group and whether or not it really works for you or doesn’t:

Barrett Brown lives in Portland, Oregon, and works as a program supervisor for Forth, an electrical mobility advocate. Barrett has spent quite a few years working within the bikeshare trade and is an advocate for bikeshare as a sustainable and pleasant type of transportation.


  1. https://www.oregonlive.com/commuting/2016/08/136000_miles_in_biketown_bike-.html
  2. https://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/article/725323?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery
  3. https://nacto.org/shared-micromobility-2018/



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Tags: Biketown, dockless bike sharing, dockless bikesharing, electric bikesharing, Forth, Forth Mobility, Lyft, Nike, Oregon, Portland

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