UCLA Expands its Bikeshare Network to Help Solve the “Last Mile” Dilemma

In October 2017, the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) launched a bikeshare network known as Bruin Bike Share. The program was created to help the school’s large commuter base take advantage of an expanded range of healthy, environmentally friendly transportation options. Bruin Bike Share is part of UCLA’s ongoing efforts to reduce its carbon footprint, and is fully available to all students, staff, and faculty members.

When UCLA first introduced the Bruin Bike Share program, it included a total of 130 bikes stationed at 18 hubs on or near the campus in west Los Angeles.

The program was launched in two phases with the first focusing on encouraging members to explore UCLA and Westwood by bike and the second addressing how members can seamlessly use bikes from nearby systems to commute in an integrated network. The latter helped shift the focus on one of the most common problems commuters face when using alternative modes of transportation: the so-called “last mile dilemma.”

The last mile dilemma refers to the challenges commuters face when using public transportation to travel to destinations that are underserved by the local transit network. Los Angeles has been working to improve its public transportation system, but the city is still notoriously difficult to navigate without a car, and as such, it’s a city where the “last mile dilemma” persists as a major impediment to the increased adoption of smart commuting alternatives.

Fast-forward to April 2018, when UCLA announced it was partnering with CycleHop to create a cooperative program that gives campus community members access to the expansive, GPS-connected Bike Share Connect network. The network covers an area of 35 square miles from the coastal suburb of Venice Beach to the famous central-city intersection of Hollywood & Highland, and integrates municipal bikeshare programs in Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, and West Hollywood, among others.

“With the expanded network, people living in the system area now have more choices for getting around town, or even commuting to and from campus,” said Dave Karwaski, UCLA Transportation’s senior associate director for planning, policy and traffic systems.

UCLA-affiliated users can take advantage of multiple payment options, including smartphone-based access, to get advantageous rates of $7 per month or $72 per year. These rates give commuters 90 minutes of daily access to all bikes that are part of the Bike Share Connect program, along with a simplified bike return scheme meant to further boost participation rates.

The new initiative is an excellent example of how community-oriented partnerships and cooperative thinking can generate creative and dynamic solutions to persistent commuting-related problems. RideAmigos is proud to be working with UCLA to manage and gamify campus transportation programs, and we’re here to help organizations of all kinds implement similarly smart commuter solutions.

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