he National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), an organization that represents 62 cities and 11 transit agencies across North America, offers city-developed comprehensive guidance to help cities regulate and manage new shared active transportation companies, from dockless bike share bikes to electric scooters. The new guidance, funded by the Better Bike Share Partnership, shows how cities can effectively manage shared active transportation companies in the public right-of-way, while allowing for flexibility and experimentation to welcome new mobility choices on city streets.
Over the past decade, Shared Active Transportation systems have become a common sight on North American public streets and right-of-way, with 35 million bike share trips taken on 100,000 bike share bikes in 2017. Many of the most intensely-used systems were created through public-private partnerships, or otherwise heavily overseen by local governments. In the past year and half, however, an increasing number of new providers have begun operating on city streets without strong oversight by local entities, making it difficult to quantify the benefits and impact of these new services.
NACTO’s Guidelines for the Regulation and Management of Shared Active Transportation provide standards for cities to manage companies that are not otherwise overseen or selected through competitive procurement processes or contracts, and sets minimum standards that all cities should require for managing this new industry on city streets, including:
- permitting frameworks
- city/company communication mechanisms
- standards for communicating with the public
- data requirements
- minimum equipment safety standards, and
- customer privacy standards.
In addition to policy areas where all cities should be in alignment, the NACTO
Guidelines for the Regulation and Management of Shared Active Transportation detail where cities and policy makers should evaluate conditions at a local level, including parking options—from lock-to requirements to dedicated street space for Shared Active Transportation—and community engagement programs. The guidelines identify incentive-based permitting mechanisms that cities are using to encourage companies to provide service that meets their mobility and equity goals.
The guidelines also include an overview of the state-of-practice from cities across the U.S. that are currently regulating Shared Active Transportation providers, from fleet size and service area restrictions, to permit fees and equitable distribution requirements. Examples include minimum numbers of rides per bike per day before companies are permitted to expand, and distribution requirements that ensure that new mobility options equitably reach diverse communities in cities.
NACTO’s guidance was initially developed at the Better Bike Share Partnership/NACTO Cities-Only Roundtable in Austin, TX and written by a steering group of cities with Shared Active Transportation providers on their streets. As the Shared Active Transportation industry is rapidly changing, the guidance will be reviewed and updated periodically.