On Thursday, July 25, 2013 Best Workplaces for Commuter hosted The Latest Spin on University Bike Share Programs, a web conference that provided an intriguing look at three University Bike Share programs.

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Holly Parker, Director, Sustainable Transportation Systems, Yale University

Still unsatisfied with the existing bikeshare models available at the time, Yale started “Y-Bike,” a departmental bikeshare program in 2008—in which a bicycle was provided to a Yale department for anyone in the department (a small, controlled environment) to use. The expense of the kiosk-based bikeshare system was prohibitive, and it was felt that getting staff members—some of whom hadn’t been on bikes since childhood—to use bikes for travel between campus locations would be a good way to build bike culture. In addition to the over 40 Y-Bikes on campus (and 8,000 collective miles pedaled later), Yale now provides 50 shared-use bicycles to anyone who registers with a valid Yale email address.  Listen to how Yale designed this 6-month pilot and how they plan on evaluating it. Download a PDF copy of the presentation.

Jim Simon, Sustainability Engagement Coordinator, University at Buffalo

When the community bicycle sharing program closed, a search began for alternatives that would meet the needs of the campus in light of their goal of becoming climate neutral by 2030. Counseled by a report prepared by an undergraduate planning class and examined options that would promote synergy in the community with partners working on providing bike share in their city and region, they engaged in a partnership with a start-up company that offers a GPS-enabled bike that can be located and borrowed using your mobile phone. The technology meets students where they are—on their mobile phones and computers—and is accessible at any time.  By becoming the first college or university to partner with this company, they have learned and applied several important lessons about innovation, partnership, and the development of learning opportunities for our students. Participants will learn how being on the leading edge of innovation through embracing new technology can benefit the research, teaching, and public service mission of your university. Additionally, participants will learn how to involve students in campus decision making through classroom learning opportunities and how the immediate risk of working with a start-up organization can lead to rewarding opportunities for collaboration with students, the community, and the campus. Download a PDF copy of the presentation.

Joshua Cantor, Director, Parking and Transportation, George Mason University

George Mason University’s commitment to reducing its environmental impact and fostering a bicycling community on campus has led to a series of new projects, including a bike path that would stretch from the Fairfax campus to the Vienna-Fairfax-GMU Metro Station and Patriot Bike Share, a bike-sharing program on campus.  George Mason’s Office of Sustainability has joined with the local bicycling community to create a series of new initiatives to achieve carbon neutrality by 2015. Chief among them is the Patriot Bike Share program on campus, which allows students to rent bicycles for two hours and return them at one of four locations across campus. The program was started by Tyler Orton, bike program manager for the Office of Sustainability, who brought his idea to the Office of Sustainability and was given $36,000 to invest in the project as part of the office’s new “Patriot Green Fund”.  Listen to the challenges and opportunities that existed for this customized bike share solution. Download a PDF copy of the presentation.

Moderator: Julie Bond, Program Manager, Best Workplaces for Commuters, National Center for Transit Research, University of South Florida

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