2008: Paris, France


Paris has revolutionized bike sharing with its individualized mass transit system called Vélib (“Freedom Bikes”). People pay a low fee to use the bikes from one of the many bike parking stations located in the city and they can return the bikes to any station they wish. By the end of 2007, Vélib had more than 1,200 stations and 15,000 bikes in the system. “Freedom bikes” in Paris fill the streets, proving more popular than anticipated. As of November 2007, more than 11 million trips have been made on these bikes.

Vélib is just one component of Paris’ new mobility plan that uses transportation innovation to revitalize community life in public spaces. Paris is prioritizing pedestrians by renovating public squares and plazas, widening sidewalks, and adding new landscaping and raised crosswalks. As of 2008 Paris had built more than 314 kilometers (195 miles) of bike lanes, and bicycling has increased 48 percent during the five previous years. Three corridors of the new bus rapid transit system also opened in 2007. These improvements led to a decrease in private vehicle traffic by 20 percent and a nine percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions.


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