COGO is a Go: Bike Sharing Program Pedals Ahead with Student Input

“Transportation issues go hand-in-hand with population growth,” stated City and Regional Planning Lecturer Chad Gibson, AICP (MCRP '97). “By 2050, Columbus will add another million people, which is basically a 50% population increase.” Gibson, who is also Director of Planning for the City of Upper Arlington, tasked his 2017 spring semester transportation studio to study and recommend additional sites for the CoGo Bike Share program. 

“The overwhelming response was positive regarding the students' contributions,” commented Gibson, noting that his students conducted extensive research and data collection along with site visits to determine the general vicinities for 26 new bike stations.

Following the Columbus City Council’s unanimous decision on July 31 to accept a $990,000 grant from the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, the 26 new CoGo bike stations will be installed within the four jurisdictions of Bexley, Grandview Heights, Columbus and Upper Arlington. Significantly increasing this popular alternative transit option, a total of 232 additional bikes will be added to the more than 300 bikes and 45 stations currently located in and around Columbus.

Based on the planning studio’s recommendations, the four jurisdictions have finalized and presented the specific spots for the 26 CoGo stations to the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT). The installation project has a completion date set for summer of 2018.

A significant phase of the studio project was conducting outreach to stakeholders within the four jurisdictions. The students accomplished this by setting up a web page, social media sites and conducting on-line surveys. Matthew Adair (MCRP ’17) commented, “The online mapping survey allowed residents to submit station recommendations on our studio website. It was a very basic application, but the use of mapping tools for planning is growing and will become more integral as technology improves.” The studio also made numerous presentations to local constituencies involved in the expansion project, including city councils, civic groups, mayors, planners and the public.    

“Studio is the culmination of a student’s academic efforts,” commented Gibson. “It creates that bridge between academia and the real world of practice.” Alaina Parrish, an undergraduate student in the city and regional planning program, experienced this connection firsthand: “Working on this studio gave me an opportunity to apply what I've learned in class to a real project, allowing me to be involved in a major project from the initial brainstorming all the way to creating the final document for clients.” Tyler Bender (MCRP ’17) amplified this sentiment: “I believe this studio had a tremendous impact on my future planning career, in that it provided the incredible opportunity to work closely with government officials and a private business to implement a shared project goal.”

A link to the COGO BikeShare Expand Studio Book can be found here: https://issuu.com/cogoexpand/docs/cogoexpand2017

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