By Zak Stone
America's big cities are finally catching up to the rest of the world's ambitious bike sharing programs. Before New York's system launched last week, none of the country's biggest three cities had a bike sharing program (Chicago's will begin this month, while Los Angeles will start its pilot program sometime in the next few months; smaller cities like Washington, D.C., Boston, and Denver have led the way.)
A new infographic on Quartz featuring 29 of the world's biggest bike sharing programs puts the urban trend into a global perspective. Each tiny dot represents a docking station. Quartz's David Yanofsky notes that a bike sharing system says a lot about how cities approach transportation policy more broadly: "The geographic footprint of a city's bike-sharing system can reveal both the municipality's level of commitment to transportation alternatives as well as the topography of the surrounding area."
According to information designer Oliver O'Brien, whose bike share monitoring site is the basis for the infographic, 17 of the world's 20 largest bike sharing programs are in Chinese cities, but most of those systems don't provide real-time or accurate data about the number of bikes in use.
Copyright 2013 by Fast Company. Reprinted with permission.