Title

Community Micromobility Deployment

Fort Smith, AR

Contact

PROJECT LEAD

Suman Mitra

CONTACT INFO

THE IDEA

The Fort Smith team implemented SMILIES, a bikeshare program tailored to small- to mid-sized municipalities and focused on providing transportation options to low-income communities.

THE CHALLENGE

SMILIES ((Shared Micromobility for affordabLe-accessIble houSing) addresses access to jobs, critical goods, and services for low-income residents of small and mid-sized communities by implementing a bikeshare service accessible to unbanked populations. More than 65% of lower-income families report challenges accessing efficient and affordable transportation. The deployment of a community-based bikeshare system provides low-cost, alternative transportation options for residents of affordable housing communities.


THE TEAM

Research Partners

  • University of Arkansas
  • Arkansas Colleges of Health Education

Civic partners:

  • The City of Fort Smith
  • Frontier MPO
  • Westerns Arkansas Planning & Development District
  • Fort Smith Public Library
  • Tandem Mobility
  • Champion Cycling

THE APPROACH

The research team designed a bikeshare system called ‘Ride 4 Smilies’ based on community feedback for payment design, station location, and cost structure. Bike station locations are optimized to bridge the gap between home, work, and transit stops, serving as last-mile transportation options, and the team developed a citizen scientist-based feedback system for bikeshare system improvement of station location, cost structure, and bike infrastructure.

THE IMPACT

‘Ride 4 Smilies’ currently operates 8 stations with 40 bikes, located mostly in lower-income neighborhoods. Around 70% of current riders are from lower-income households (<$35,000), who use it for work, shopping, and recreational purposes.