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SmartBikes

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"SmartBikes"

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Streetfilms came to DC and made a short film about the new SmartBike DC program:


I think this is very promising; I signed up last week and am waiting for my card in the mail. Transportation policy is full of interesting network effects. The existing SmartBike DC system is somewhat useful, especially for me because it happens to be the case that one depot is extremely close to my office and another depot is three blocks from my house. It would be even more useful to me, of course, if there were a depot at the Waterfront-SEU Metro station right by my girlfriend’s house. And of course it would be much more useful to her if there were one by her house. And if the currently existing program gets a lot of subscribers, they’ll probably expand and create new depots — which will both make it reasonable for more people to sign up and add value to the subscriptions of existing members.

Similarly, if other cities also started SmartBikes programs and it was possible for subscribers to use SmartBikes in other places they visited (I really wished I’d had a bike when I was in Austin), that’d be even more useful. And of course that would provide a way for tourists in DC to take advantage of SmartBike DC. And if tourists could use SmartBike DC then the system would support more bikes and depots which would make it more useful for residents. And on top of all that, all the evidence (and common sense) indicates that urban cycling is safer and more pleasant in cities where more people ride bikes. In other words, something that starts off as a marginal phenomenon now can, if it manages to get off the ground, wind up feeding a substantial snowball effect.

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