Bike-Sharing for Low-Income Neighborhoods

By focusing on station locations and innovative payment and pricing options, Philadelphia is making bike-sharing more socially equitable.

Launched in 2015, Philadelphia’s bike-share system, Indego, has built nearly one-third of its 100 stations in low-income and underserved neighborhoods of the city, making access to bike-sharing possible for more people. The system accepts cash payments, providing easier access for riders without a credit card, and passes can be purchased at local convenience stores. Indego offers a number of flexible plans, including passes for food-stamp recipients costing just $5 per month and providing unlimited trips lasting one hour or less.

The bike-share program has made an effort to produce inclusive advertising campaigns showing its bikes in use throughout a range of city neighborhoods. Indego has also undertaken extensive community engagement and outreach in planning station locations and spreading the word about the program.

Relevance of solution

About 27% of Philadelphians live below the poverty level, 1 while 68% of adults and 41% of youth in the city are overweight or obese. 2 Making bike-sharing services available to low-income communities helps alleviate both challenges. Low-cost, active transportation also improves accessibility to employment.

Triple Bottom Line


In addition to offering green transit, most Indego bike-share stations are solar powered.


Social equity is a pillar of Indego; the city consulted with more than 5,500 community members to make sure station locations were accessible for a wide range of users.


Indego is operationally self -sufficient on revenues and sponsorships.


  1. U.S. Census Bureau. “QuickFacts: Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania.” (2014)
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Community Profile: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.” (2013)
  3. Photos © Darren Burton ()