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Smarter transportation case study #7: Bike sharing program in Pottstown, Pa.

A first-in-the-region bikesharing program has increased transportation options and improved public health in this town 40 miles outside Philadelphia.

Pottstown is a town of just over 20,000 people located about 40 miles northwest of Philadelphia. The community has struggled to find a new identity and revitalize its economy since the decline of the iron and steel industries. They have found some success leveraging the area’s convenient access to the Schuylkill River Trail, a multi-use trail that connects Philadelphia to nearby communities.

The Bike Pottstown bike sharing program was launched in June of 2008 with 30 beach cruiser bikes all painted yellow and accompanied by a lock and a basket. Managed by Preservation Pottstown, a local non-profit organization within the borough, the program operates six days a week out of Tri-County Bicycles, a local independently owned bike shop. Anyone with a valid ID can rent the bikes and ride anywhere in the Pottstown until the end of the day. The bikes are free of charge and by December 2009 had been shared over 2,000 times.

“Bike Pottstown is a community bike-share program,” said Tom Carroll, president of Preservation Pottstown. “By having it operate out of this location, and eventually out of others as well, it brings the program to more people in the community, and, hopefully, will bring more community support to the program.”

The only free bike sharing program in the greater Philadelphia region, Bike Pottstown has been featured in numerous newspapers, magazines and television news segments. The media attention has been a win-win for the community, bringing needed tourism and renewing local enthusiasm for bicycling as a source of exercise and transportation. Bike Pottstown is removing cars from the road, promoting physical fitness and providing residents with more options for commuting to work, although most use the program recreationally.

Bike Pottstown was able to get off the ground because of a $30,000 grant from the Pottstown Area Health and Wellness Foundation. The funding paid for the infrastructure study, bicycles and the first year of operating costs. Subsequent annual operating costs are paid for through promotional items, sponsorships and donations.

Bike Pottstown Facebook Page

Pottstown bike sharing bikes. Photo courtesy of Bike Pottstown.


Editor’s NoteOur new report on smarter mobility demonstrates how existing and emerging technologies can squeeze more capacity from over-burdened highways, help commuters avoid traffic delays and expand and improve transportation options, all while saving money and creating jobs. Many of these smart transportation solutions are already fueling innovation throughout the country, through both the public and private sector. These 14 case studies from around the U.S. and the world demonstrate the community benefits smart mobility solutions are giving regions, cities, and businesses.

Read the ITS Case Study Series

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  1. David Carter

    13 years ago

    I love the concept and would like information on how to start one. Thanks David