Member Spotlight: City of Chicago

Divvy is Chicagoland’s bike share system serving Chicago and Evanston. Divvy provides residents and visitors with a convenient, fun and affordable transportation option for getting around and exploring Chicago.

Divvy is a program of the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT), which owns the city’s bikes, stations and vehicles. Initial funding for the program came from federal grants for projects that promote economic recovery, reduce traffic congestion and improve air quality, as well as additional funds from the City’s Tax Increment Financing and sponsorship dollars.

Chicago is just wrapping up the first of three phases in their Citywide bikesharing expansion. In 2020, they increased the Divvy service area footprint from 100 to 150 square miles, adding 78 new Divvy locations to the Far South Side of Chicago. While expanding, Divvy also undertook a major technology transition from a station-exclusive network to a hybrid docked/dockless model and adding 3,500 new class-1 pedal-assist e-bikes with lock-to capability.  The expansion effort continues as they kick off community engagement on the City’s West Side for Phase 2.

The Citywide expansion and system modernization are only possible because of CDOT’s partnership with Lyft, their system operator and sponsor. Lyft’s investment in Divvy enables a pace of growth that would not have been achieved under the previous funding model. Lyft’s sponsorship also helps CDOT to fund new bikeways in expansion areas and promote safe walking, biking and driving through the Vision Zero Chicago program. More than 20 miles of new bike lanes were identified as a result of Divvy’s Far South Side community engagement process and installed this year with funding from Lyft’s sponsorship.

Community partnerships are also crucial to their success. CDOT, Lyft, and their consultant MUSE Community + Design have developed an intentional deep-dive approach to community engagement that hinges on the expertise of local stakeholders. Bringing bikeshare to communities that do not already have robust cycling culture must begin with listening to local concerns and shaping the network to best support residents’ day-to-day lives.

When asked about why they enjoy being a NABSA member, they stated that they appreciate the chance to work with partners across sectors to get new perspectives on the pulse of micromobility. They also value the annual State of the Industry Report as exactly the type of resource the industry needs. The City of Chicago is a founding member of NABSA.