Partner Spotlight: Better Bike Share Partnership

The Better Bike Share Partnership (BBSP) formed in 2014, a collaboration between the National Association of Transportation Officials (NACTO), the PeopleForBikes Foundation, and the City of Philadelphia. In 2014, bikeshare was really the only form of shared micromobility and most systems primarily served tourists, people who lived or worked downtown and occasionally some middle- and upper-income neighborhoods. Lower-income residents and those who lived outside a downtown core, as well as folks who didn’t ride, know how to ride, or fit into a narrow idea of someone who rides were forgotten. BSSP was created to change all that.

Initially, BBSP work focused on understanding the barriers to the use of bikeshare in low-income and communities of color, developing and disseminating strategies to address those barriers, collecting data to assess change and working to institutionalize successful approaches. Philadelphia was the organization’s first Living Lab, a place where all of the lessons learned could come to fruition in the form of the Indego bikeshare system, as well as the educational and outreach programs that support it.

Over the years, BBSP’s work has expanded. NACTO provides resources such as station siting and data collection guidance and offers technical assistance. PeopleForBikes administers grants—more than $1.5M to date—and oversees storytelling and communications for the partnership. This year, BBSP’s work shifted to support four new Living Labs in addition to Indego in Philadelphia, including NABSA members MoGo in Detroit and BIKETOWN in Portland. Over the course of two years, all of the Living Labs will create replicable programs for improving shared micromobility in low-income and/or communities of color.

Also new this year is the Transportation Justice Fellowship, which was designed based on the research of Dr. Destiny Thomas, CEO and founder of Thrivance Group, who manages the cohort in partnership with NACTO. Over the course of nine months, this fellowship will meaningfully invest resources to support and sustain 12 Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC) committed to advancing equity in the transportation field. Through events, one-on-one coaching, check-ins, and structured collaboration, fellows will receive more than 60 hours of training as they advance professionally and work on tangible ways to improve mobility for BIPOC.

As BBSP moves into year eight, made possible by a renewal of grant support, the organization continues to center equity and access in all of its work. As the transportation landscape continues to evolve, so will BBSP—the partnership is committed to taking the time to build trust and multi-year projects, creating lasting, substantial change in the process.