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Will Michigan Adapt to a New Mode of Transportation?

Oct 11, 2017

Michigan has long been known as the car capitol of the world, a title for which we are proud.  So, is it feasible to think that a different form of transportation could gain a foothold in our state?  One market segment is hoping to do just that – bike share.

Since first being introduced, many cities have taken to this new mode of transportation technology.  One of the major bike share companies, Zagster, continues to expand nationwide.  A quick look at their website and they tout the many features of such a program;

  • Linking public transit,
  • Reducing congestion, and
  • Improving public health among many others

On the surface, this seems to have many advantages; public and private sector, ease of use for the consumer and reduce costs to local and state governments.

Michigan has witnessed its share of bike sharing.  While some of the areas with bike shares are not-surprising, such as Detroit and Ann Arbor, bike shares are starting to move into less urban areas such as Midland and Port Huron.  Will communities that are far more spread-out adopt this new technology or is adoption destined to succeed long-term traditionally dense urban areas? 

In places like Washington D.C. it makes sense they would embrace this transportation technology.  The city has a large population, driving and parking are a nightmare in the nation’s capital, plus the metro system’s reputation has recently taken a hit in the public’s eyes.

But Michigan doesn’t have a comparable area where residents live and work in the city, one of the keys to a bustling bike culture.  However, Detroit is growing, old buildings are being refurbished into living spaces, so perhaps in the near future this technology will take hold there just as it has in D.C.  The technology has gained enough attention in Detroit that a local nonprofit was born creating bike share service, MoGo.  If any city in Michigan is most apt to highly utilize this technology, I wouldn’t be surprised if it was Detroit.

Even as more cities embrace this new technology and it spreads throughout the country, it’s doubtful that bikes in the U.S. will ever become as ubiquitous as they are in Europe where its ingrained in the culture and everyday life.  Time will tell if this approach to transportation is embraced in the long-term or if it will be replaced by another yet-to-be developed technology.

Michigan Legislative Consultants is a bipartisan lobbying firm based in Lansing, Michigan. Our team of lobbyists and procurement specialists provide a wide range of services for some of the most respected companies in America. For more on MLC, visit www.mlcmi.com or connect with us on LinkedIn and Twitter.