This is part 11 of an ongoing series about Crystal City. Click here for part 10.
Capital Bikeshare, the hot new mode of transportation in the DC area, was officially launched on September 20, 2010. But membership applications had started pouring in weeks before the opening date. By December, there were a total of 5,127 annual Capital Bikeshare members, and 7% of these were Arlington residents. In addition, there had been 11,332 casual (i.e. daily) members in 2010.
A glance at the Capital Bikeshare map tell us that while the greater part of the system is within the District, Arlington now has 14 stations in Crystal City/Pentagon City, i.e. 12% of stations in the system. The 2010 usage map shows that in Arlington, the highest number of trips were taken between the stations at 18th & Bell Sts. and 27th St. & Crystal Drive.
Demand for bikes on weekdays is highest during the morning and evening peak hours, and fairly steady throughout the day on weekends. The average trip is below 30 minutes and less than a mile. So it seems that members use bikes for both, work commutes and non-work trips (like running errands or going to the gym.) We will soon know more about how members use Capital Bikeshare, and how it has impacted their travel choices based on the member survey conducted on January 01, 2011. Results of the survey will made public shortly. The survey also asked about what worked well and what could be improved in the future to make the program more useful and convenient, especially with the online map, bikes and bike stations, and mobile phone applications.
The 2010 numbers are testimony to the success of the program, but Capital Bikeshare will not rest on its laurels. Improvements based on customer feedback are being planned, and the program is gearing up for a springtime surge in ridership and membership. New stations have been proposed to fill gaps in the DC network and to expand the Arlington system to the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor. So stay tuned in 2011, the first full year of operation for Capital Bikeshare, for an even more amazing performance.
Sonali Soneji, AICP, Research Manager, Arlington County Commuter Services.