Join University of Pittsburgh at #BikeSummit22
Bicycle Friendly Universities not only make it safer and easier for students, faculty and staff to get around by bike, but they also act on the power of bicycling to improve the health, sustainability and connectivity of their community by innovating ways to get more people on bikes.
Two of our 2021 Bicycle Friendly University (BFU) awardees, the University of Pittsburgh and Indiana University Bloomington, will join us at the 2022 National Bike Summit to discuss how they are making way for more bike commuters on campus with bike share and bike commuter benefits. In a two-part series, we’ll learn more about these two Bicycle Friendly Universities and their respective initiatives. Today, meet the University of Pittsburgh.
The University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, first achieved Bicycle Friendly University status in 2018 when it was designated as a Bronze-level BFU. In 2019, the University partnered with Healthy Ride (now rebranded as POGOH), Pittsburgh’s non-profit bike share to pilot a program to allow all first-year students to take unlimited free bike share rides. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the University was able to provide and expand the benefit to all University students, faculty, and staff (over 37,000 individuals) unlimited free rides and offer the entire campus community an alternative transportation mode — a move that cemented the University of Pittsburgh’s promotion to a Silver-level Bicycle Friendly University in our 2021 round of awards.
“The Healthy Ride/POGOH partnership to provide free access to the city-wide public bike share program for all Pitt students, staff, and faculty was a major factor in the decision to move the University of Pittsburgh from Bronze to Silver, but the highlights from their application don’t stop there,” said Amelia Neptune director of the League’s Bicycle Friendly America program. “From ongoing coordination with other Pittsburgh-area BFUs including the annual multi-university campus-wide Bike to Campus Week celebrations to weekly Pitt Bike Cave group rides around town, to offering a range of multi-lingual bike safety classes hosted by LCI-trained staff on campus throughout the year, the University of Pittsburgh is a rising star in the BFU program.”
On Wednesday, March 30th at 2 pm ET, attendees of the 2022 National Bike Summit can virtually join Networking and Professional Development for Bicycle Friendly Universities to learn more about the journey of Pitt’s bike share program during a presentation from Nick Goodfellow, sustainability coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh.
Healthy Ride Relaunching As POGOH
In March, Healthy Ride announced a new brand and upgraded bikeshare system called POGOH. The new system will launch in the coming weeks and will install 38 stations with half traditional pedal bikes and half e-assist bikes (also known as e-bikes). The new bikes were designed and built with new hardware and software from PBSC Urban Solutions and come with some neat features like a lighter frame, front and rear lights, a basket, roller brakes and 3 gears. The addition of e-bikes will help the University and City reach some of its equity goals around creating a bike share system that is approachable for all ages and abilities as it helps to make biking in the hilly city more approachable and accessible.
One of 17 Healthy Ride bike share stations on campus.
In just three months into the 2021-2022 academic year, more than 12,000 Healthy Ride trips had been taken by Pitt students, faculty and staff — making them on pace to nearly triple ridership from the year before. On certain days, the University of Pittsburgh’s ridership comprises nearly a quarter of all riders in the bike share system! One of Pitt’s undergraduate students created a new dashboard that tracks where people are riding and for how long. Check it out here.
“We have a great relationship with a professor in the Industrial Engineering (IE) department who teaches the Through a Senior Design Capstone course in the Industrial Engineering department,” reported Nick Goodfellow. “IE students help the Pitt office of Sustainability to better understand where to prioritize the placement and investment of bike share stations on campus. Healthy Ride shared loads of data and insights with them on the bike share program and with a massive list of suggested station locations, they developed a list of locations to invest in that considered ridership, access, equity, and other factors. The students who worked on the project are now big fans of the Healthy Ride program — and will hopefully go on to consider how to include shared and active transportation into their careers.”
“Pretty much everything is on the table,” said Nick Goodfellow. “We’ve already used bikeshare bikes for some participants in Smart Cycling courses who didn’t have their own bikes and now we’re working on programs to support offices and RAs to use them for team and floor bonding with suggested routes around campus or neighborhoods with good bicycle infrastructure. A new fleet featuring 50% electric bikes will definitely change the way the Pitt community uses the bike share system. For instance, Pittsburgh is pretty hilly so we’re hoping electric bikes will make our hillside campus and other hilltop neighborhoods more accessible.”
In Fall 2022, Pitt will also conduct a commuter survey that will be the first to ask how the bike share benefit has changed the way people commute.
If you would like to be a part of the discussion, and so many more conversations around better bicycling in your community, business or university, learn more about #BikeSummit22 and get your ticket at bikeleague.org/summit.
If you’re a college or university and would like to apply for Bicycle Friendly University designation or learn how your campus could be better for people who bike, visit bikeleague.org/university. The deadline to apply for our 2022 round of awards is August 10, 2022.