International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award

3-2016

Degree Type

Final Project

Degree Name

Master of Science in Environmental Science and Policy (ES&P)

Chief Instructor

Samuel Ratick

Second Reader

Kathryn Madden

Abstract

The Worcester, MA Bike Share Feasibility Study was conducted to determine whether the City of Worcester is suitable for a city wide bike share. This study includes a general history of bike shares; their benefits based on major categories of social, environmental, economic, and transit; and overview of demographic composition of Worcester. Several cities of similar population size to Worcester that have implemented bike share systems are reviewed as context for system size. Other completed bike share feasibility studies informed the methods employed in this study, as well as provided more information broadly and specifically about all of the elements of a bike share system.

The majority of this study focuses on a GIS analysis that aims to determine areas of highest demand or suitability. Three models were developed with slightly varying attributes, with variables chosen according to both theory-based and experience-based bike share systems. The three models are Baseline Model, High Income Model, and Underserved Communities Model. Historically, many bike share systems have not been successful in attracting low income users, due to physical, cultural, and economic barriers, though underserved communities are least likely to own a personal vehicle and rely more on alternative means of transport. This study focuses especially on methods of engagement of underserved communities, as the results of the GIS models and the demographic landscape of Worcester lends itself to this focus.

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