Planners and transportation policy makers have long hoped that bike sharing systems, which allow users to rent bikes for a short period of time will provide practical transportation benefits and not just recreational benefits. If these bike share systems can serve as a practical transportation option, they may help better connect people with public transit services, by extending public transit's catchment area, and thus enhance urban mobility. However, little research has empirically investigated this question.
To better understand if bike share systems encourage public transit use, a research team at the University of Maryland College Park collected data on Capital Bikeshare and Metro-rail trips in the Washington DC area to better understand the synergistic effects (if any) between bike sharing systems and public transit. The research team collected Capital Bikeshare origin and destination (O/D) data, built environment and socio-economic data, and Metro-rail data. They then used to these data to build a regression model with Metro-rail trips as the independent variable.
Results suggest that a 10 percent increase of Capital Bikeshare ridership will lead to a 2.8 percent increase in Metrorail ridership. This implies that bike sharing systems can be used to increase public transit ridership and improve urban mobility.
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