Bikes on Board: The Latest Research on Bicycle/Transit Integration
Bikes on Los Angeles County Metro's Gold Line. Photo by Nate Baird.

Bikes on Los Angeles County Metro's Gold Line. Photo by Nate Baird.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to make it to the recent TRB conference. But a few colleagues have come back from the conference bearing wonderful souvenirs, DVD-ROM discs packed full with details of the latest transportation research. As a budding bicycle planning nerd and an intern at a major transit agency, I’ve been happily searching through the digitally provided conference materials for bike-transit related research.

Kevin Krizek and Eric Stonebraker’s paper Bicycling and Transit: A Marriage Unrealized summarizes the latest trends on the issue, and reports that several studies suggest that recent growth in transit and bicycling modes may be in small part a result of synergy between the two modes. That marriage, still very much in its infancy, can work via at least five broad possibilities:

  1. transporting a transit customer’s bicycle aboard (inside or outside) a transit vehicle (see photo above!);
  2. using and parking a transit customer’s bicycle at a transit access (or origin) location;
  3. sharing a bicycle (publicly or privately provided), primarily based at the transit access point;
  4. using a transit customer’s bicycle at the egress (or destination) location;
  5. sharing a bicycle (again), but primarily based, this time, at the transit egress point.

The authors focus on four factors that affect the mode share percentage of cycling-transit users (CTUs): 1) transport mode, 2) location in the urban fabric, 3) egress catchment area, and 4) trip purpose.

Their review suggests that transit services that quickly transport users relatively long distances—30 miles plus—with relatively few stops (i.e. commuter rail or express buses) tend to draw larger shares of CTUs than slower and shorter-distance routes. Catchment areas (the area that a transit stop serves) tend to shrink or expand depending on the speed of the transit mode, with bicyclists willing to ride farther for a faster service. Finally, research confirms the obvious observation that most trips are work- and education-related. As such, CTUs often bypass inefficient feeder systems, to save time, while also preferring fastest, most efficient transit services.

Krizek and Stonebraker round out their paper by naming some considerations for future research, highlighting some interesting case studies of “innovative iniatives to address capacity limitations,” which seems to be a primary consideration in marrying the bicycle to transit, and even  laying out a cost-effectiveness framework that cities can use to help them better understand when, where, and how to promote bicycle-transit integration.

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  • bikinginla

    I knew when I wrote that list of people whose bike activism awed me — as opposed to odd me, which is another topic altogether — I knew I was going to forget some very important people.And sure enough, as I’m out on my bike today, it hits me — Josef Brayj-Ali, the ultimate bike wonk, who doesn’t just talk bikes but lives it every day. So I figure maybe I can get home and slip his name into that list before anyone notices.Too late. Sorry for the glaring omission.

    This comment was originally posted on BikingInLA

  • http://ubrayj02.blogspot.com/ ubrayj02

    Nuthin’ says it like a war metaphor. More proof that we’re collectively moving things in the right direction.

    This comment was originally posted on BikingInLA

  • proud LA cyclist

    The LA bike movement is like a nation unto itself growing ever powerful with the Bike Working Group becoming the de facto Congress and it’s speaker of the house being Stephen Box with perhaps Alex Thompson being the president of this emerging nation. Joseph Ubrayj running counter-terrorism strikes with the department of DIY, Roadblock being the 4 star general mobilizing his massive Ridazz troops to invade the streets (wolfpak being the elite delta command force) and the LACBC something of a UN of sorts, fighting the good fight yet struggling at times to remain relevant but appreciated none the less. Somehow it’s all coming together, more and more recruits are responding everyday and joining the rebel alliance. The LADOT being the evil empire of course… blood on the streets spilled by their inaction as they continue to ignore the nation of cyclists banging down their car doors. 30 years from now perhaps people riding safely on friendly uncongested bike-able streets will look back and smile about these days… with embedded reporters like Damien Newton, Ted Rogers and Will Campbell covering the conflict the citizens may know the history of this epic battle for Los Angeles. Maybe it won’t matter to anyone but for now we’ll pretend that it does, because it lights our fires.

    This comment was originally posted on BikingInLA

  • bikinginla

    Couldn’t have said it better myself.

    This comment was originally posted on BikingInLA

  • http://bikinginla.wordpress.com/2010/02/08/i-couldn%e2%80%99t-have-said-it-better-myself/ I couldn’t have said it better myself « BikingInLA

    [...] couldn’t have said it better myself Last weekend, I wrote about the many positive changes taking place in the local biking world, from new-found attention from our government officials to reforms in the [...]

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  • bikinginla

    I couldn’t agree more. I think our strength comes from a thousand people working in ten thousand directions. Even if you do nothing more than make a phone call, write an email or just get out and ride your bike when you could have taken your car, you’re doing your part to make this a better place.

    This comment was originally posted on BikingInLA

  • Roadblock

    2010 is the year of the bicycle. Let’s keep our heads down and continue to draft off each other. Everyone will get a chance to pull. Keep it moving. We have a lot of miles to cover.

    This comment was originally posted on BikingInLA

  • http://twitter.com/bicyclingnate Nate

    I really need to start visiting here more often. Very nice review of all that’s been happening.On your "a lot of other people who do a lot more than I do" sentiment, I have always had the sense that its been a huge advantage for L.A. that so many people have been inspired to act in so many different ways. I think its the key reason so much has started moving this past year, there are so many different fronts being activated.

    This comment was originally posted on BikingInLA

  • bikinginla

    Thanks guys, I appreciate that. But there are a lot of other people who do a lot more than I do — like Glenn Bailey, Joe Linton, Roadblock, Alex Thompson, Stephen and Enci Box, Jeremy Grant, Damien Newton, and Jen, Allison, Dorothy and Aurisha at the LACBC, just to name a few.Those are the ones I’m in awe of. Me, I’m just a guy with a blog and too damn many opinions.

    This comment was originally posted on BikingInLA

  • TheTricksterNZ

    +1

    This comment was originally posted on BikingInLA

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  • http://www.smcca.org/ Greb

    Thanks for all you are doing.

    This comment was originally posted on BikingInLA