Vancouver’s bike-share system was literally announced yesterday, and already Seattle is comparing our system with theirs.   Which is only right, since, according to the Seattle Bike Blog, Vancouver learned from Seattle’s underperforming system.


Seattle bike 1

Both Portland and Vancouver, B.C. have learned from Seattle’s experience by planning bike share systems this year at a more appropriate scale for cities our size: BikeTown in Portlandwill launch with 1,000 smart bikes and 100 stations (though their bikes can be docked at any bike rack in the service area). Vancouver’s system will launch even bigger with 1,500 bikes at 150 stations.

Pronto, for comparison, has only 500 bikes and 54 stations, but only 42 of those stations form a centralized and connected network. As we have discussed before, that connected network mass is everything …

First off, let’s look at the just-announced planned bike share service area in Vancouver, B.C. once their system gets up to 1,500 bikes:

Seattle 3

Our rough estimate puts this service area at about ten square miles (depending on how you factor in the water, also an issue in Seattle).

For comparison, here’s what that service area would look like overlaid on Seattle:

Seattle 4


Vancouver’s population is much more dense than Seattle’s, and its bike share system will be, as well. Their plan allows them to blanket the service area with stations every two or three blocks. In fact, their station density (15 stations per square mile) will be much higher than successful systems in DC (8.9), Boston (8.3) and Chicago (9.4). Vancouver also has high-quality bike lanes in its downtown and fewer very steep hills than Seattle. So long as the hardware rolls out without major issues (and they handle their helmet law well), Vancouver’s system appears ready to thrive upon launch.


For more on how Seattle could approach Vancouver’s coverage, go here.