We’re proud to announce our Living Lab winners, all of which will create replicable programs for improving shared micromobility in low-income communities.
In 2014, the Better Bike Share Partnership (BBSP) formed with a mission: identify barriers to bike share and develop strategies to address them. By partnering with Philadelphia and its Indego bike share system—using the city as a “Living Lab,” or a testing ground for innovative solutions—the BBSP was able to identify replicable best practices that would make any micromobility system more equitable. This year, the partnership is expanding its Living Lab work to include four more cities alongside Philadelphia, each with a specific target area and goal for making bike share better.
The BBSP invited proposals from partnerships of cities, bike share operators and community-based organizations looking to pilot, expand, replicate or scale strategies and tactics related to a specific issue and historically-marginalized population. Projects could not include the funding of new bike share stations or related equipment, on-street infrastructure projects, general operating costs or anything related to a micromobility system that didn’t yet exist. Only applications from U.S.-based, nonprofit organizations or city agencies were considered. In the end, the BBSP received 16 applications from cities large and small across the country.
“Being a Living Lab means taking a deep dive into addressing the obstacles that affect access to and use of shared micromobility systems,” said Tangier Barnes Wright, partnership and program manager at the PeopleForBikes Foundation, a founding partner of the BBSP. “At the end of two and a half years, the Living Labs communities will share unique and replicable approaches to achieving equity in shared micromobility that can be utilized nationwide.”
Over the course of two and a half years, the BBSP has committed to disseminating $200,000 in funding to each Living Lab, which will cover costs associated with proposals as well as technical support, scholarships and travel stipends for relevant conferences. Grantees will also have the opportunity to convene monthly and share learnings as a cohort. Follow along on the BBSP blog in order to track the work of each Living Lab, including deep dives into individual proposals, progress made and any challenges that arise.
“These five organizations crafted creative and thoughtful proposals to look deeply at how and why people use shared micromobility — or don’t,” said Zoe Kircos, director of grants and partnerships at PeopleForBikes. “We look forward to sharing the progress, challenges and lessons learned from these Living Labs in the years ahead.”
The following projects received Living Labs funding:
The Northwest Side Housing Center will work with partners to amplify the voice of youth in Chicago’s micromobility planning and implementation efforts. Teens from the Belmont Cragin neighborhood will help design and roll out a community education campaign that will focus on bikes as a way to connect the neighborhood to other transit options. Additionally, members of the Belmont Cragin Youth Leadership Council will learn bike mechanic and handling skills, which they will use to help educate their community about bike share and the many benefits of bicycling.
MoGo, a Detroit-based nonprofit organization, and its partners will work together to identify and address the technical, behavioral and structural barriers associated with bus and bike share trips in order to create better-connected transportation options in Metro Detroit. Feedback and data collected from local residents will inform strategies that MoGo will pilot and test over the course of the grant.
The City of Philadelphia, along with partners at Bicycle Transit Systems and the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia, will continue to refine and expand its ambassador programs and deep community engagement work, with a particular focus on the new neighborhoods that will be served by Indego's (Philadelphia’s bike share program) extensive expansion. Additional program offerings, such as the Indego Champions and Changing Gears programs, will also be scaled up based on pilot projects completed in 2020.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation and its partner, the Multnomah County REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) Program, will help local community health workers provide Biketown (Portland’s bike share program) access, education and support for clients who receive county health assistance, all with the overall goal of improving health outcomes.
Red Bike (Cincinnati’s bike share system) will supercharge its highly successful Red Bike Go program, implementing and assessing a variety of new strategies to increase community involvement as it expands into two new neighborhoods. Its approach will include creative partnerships with schools and community-based organizations, youth ambassadors and youth-focused programming with the integration of art throughout.