Where to go? Designing Bike Share Systems around High Frequency Transit and Separated Cycling Infrastructure

Author/s: Darren Proulx

Creation date: 2014

Contact info: dnproulx at gmail dot com

Senior supervisor:  Peter V. Hall

Keywords: bicycle share system; frequent transit services; separated cycling infrastructure; design; rates of cycling; Washington D.C. Capital Bikeshare

Geographic focus: Washington, DC; United States

Research question/s: How does frequent transit service and separated cycling infrastructure affect the pattern of trips for Washington D.C.’s public bicycle share stations?

Significance

As a recent global phenomenon, bike-sharing has been promoted by politicians and transportation planners as a way to provide urban residents with new mobility options. Developing a deeper understanding of these systems will help maximize their potential to reduce personal automobile use. In particular, bike-share systems are often cited as a solution to the final-mile problem of public transit systems, in which transit agencies struggle to attract patrons due to the lack of high-quality reliable feeder services. However, there has been a dearth of empirical evidence to support this claim. Similarly, there is little research that uses trip data from bike-share systems to analyze the relationship between the number of bike-share trips and the presence of traffic-separated cycling infrastructure. This study aims to address those gaps through a multi-variable statistical analysis of public trip data from Washington D.C.’s Capital Bikeshare, a successful system that has over two million annual trips.

Findings

The author conducted a bivariate and multi-variable statistical analysis using 36 variables that captured each bike-share station’s built environment, land use and demographic context within a 400-metre buffer. The author found that separated bike lanes had a statistically significant positive relationship with higher use of the Capital Bikeshare system, regardless of the time of day or user’s membership type. The author also found a statistically significant positive relationship between bike-share subscribers (in contrast to other types of members), trips under ten minutes and peak travel-time trips to and from bikeshare stations within 400 metres of Metrorail stations. There was often a negative or non-significant relationship with the Metrobus. This was indicative of a pattern of commuters using the bikeshare to travel from the traditional, mixed-use neighbourhoods surrounding downtown to bikeshare stations within 400 metres of Metrorail stations. The author recommended that traffic-separated bicycle lanes in Washington, D.C. be expanded to form a network that connects Metrorail stations to top attractions, employment destinations, and commercial and residential areas.