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A woman unlocks a CitiBike in New York in November 2020. Photo: John Lamparski/Getty Image

A new paper finds that New York's CitiBike bike-sharing system has prevented emissions of carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide and saved energy.

The big picture: Bike sharing has become increasingly popular in cities around the world, and the new research calculates the measurable effect the systems can have on climate change and other environmental challenges.

By the numbers: In a paper published Tuesday in the journal Cities, a team of researchers calculated that from 2014 to 2017 — the first three full years of its operation — New York’s CitiBike system saved the equivalent of 13,370 tons of oil and reduced CO2 emissions by 30,070 tons and NOx emissions by 80 tons respectively.

  • "This statistic suggests that bike sharing is the right model for supporting commuting systems in cities to decrease CO2 emissions," the authors wrote.

Between the lines: Notably, the savings were greatest during the morning and evening rush hours, when bike-sharing use was heaviest and gridlock traffic ensured automobiles would be emitting more per mile.

The catch: In 2017, New York City's transportation sector emitted 18.9 million tons of CO2, which means the amount saved by CitiBike is just a drop in a much larger bucket.

The bottom line: Expanding bike-share use is a net win for the climate. But for a dense city like New York, getting people back on mass transit is even more important.

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 11, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Chevron announces "aspiration" to be carbon neutral by 2050

Photo: Elijah Nouvelage/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Chevron this morning unveiled an "aspiration" to become a net-zero emissions company by 2050.

Why it matters: While several European majors have these long-term goals, to date U.S.-based behemoths Exxon and Chevron have resisted such pledges.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

Key clean power provision likely won't survive in Dems' spending bill

A construction worker walks along a dirt road at the Avangrid Renewables La Joya wind farm in Encino, New Mexico, on Aug. 5, 2020. Photo: Cate Dingley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A pillar of Democrats' plans to speed deployment of zero-carbon electricity is likely to be cut from major spending and tax legislation they are struggling to move on a party-line vote, per multiple reports and a Capitol Hill aide.

Driving the news: The New York Times, citing anonymous congressional aides and lobbyists, reports that West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) has told the White House he "strongly opposes" the Clean Electricity Performance Program.

Updated 4 hours ago - World

Fatal stabbing of British MP David Amess declared a terrorist incident

Police outside Belfairs Methodist Church in Leigh-on-Sea, England, on Oct. 15. Photo: John Keeble/Getty Images

Authorities have declared the death of David Amess a terrorist incident, hours after the Conservative Party lawmaker in the U.K. was fatally stabbed while meeting with local constituents in a church in eastern England on Friday.

The big picture: The Metropolitan Police has found "a potential motivation linked to Islamist extremism."

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