Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Integrate cycling with public transport

Cycling and public transport are complementary modes of travel. As shown best by cities in northern Europe, the integration of cycling and public transport helps reduce environmentally harmful car use while making our cities more livable.

- John Pucher of Rutgers University, USA reports:

Cycling is ideal for trips up to about 5 km, while PT is the most environmentally friendly way to cover long trips. Here are some ways in which we can make that mission-critical cycling/public transport connection.

1. Different kinds of bike-PT coordination:
* Provision of bike parking at rail transit stations (usually) and bus stops (much less common)

* Bike racks on buses (usually on front)

* Permission to take bikes on PT vehicles (usually rail), and special provisions for accommodating bikes on vehicles (racks, hooks, reserved space, or special bike cars)

* Provision of short-term bike rentals at train stations (PT bikes)

2. Examples and extent of implementation

* Focus in Europe and Japan is on extensive parking at rail stations, often including guarded, covered parking and full-service bike stations (e.g., over 350,000 bike parking spaces at Dutch train stations, over 740,000 bike parking spaces at metro and suburban rail stations in Tokyo)

* Focus in North America is on bike racks on buses, with over 2/3 of US buses and 3/4 of Canadian buses equipped with racks; very few buses with bike racks in Europe.

* Bikes often allowed on light rail, metro, and suburban rail, but not during peak hours on most systems

* Bike parking at rail stations increasing greatly in quantity and quality throughout Europe and North America, esp. since 1990

* Trend toward full-service bike stations in Europe: at 67 Dutch train stations and 70 German train stations in 2007; just starting up in USA and on much smaller scale; mega bike stations in Japanese cities

* Public transport bikes (OV-Fiets at 156 Dutch train stations; Call-a-Bike at 16 German train stations)

3. Impacts on cycling

* Focus of studies has been on impacts on public transport use, with cycling found to be much cheaper feeder mode than cars (bike and ride vs. park and ride) for increasing catchment area of rail services

* Most studies report high usage rates of bike parking and bike racks, as well as increased satisfaction of surveyed cyclists, indirectly suggesting that these measures encourage cycling. On average, 90% of the bike parking spaces at Dutch railway stations is occupied by bikes, and at some stations, the number of bikes far exceeds the number of bike parking spaces.

* 40% of Dutch suburban rail users cycle from home to the station, indicating the importance of bike and ride

* One Dutch study measured impacts of various kinds of improved bike parking at rail stations and bus stops in a few pilot projects and found increased transit use and bike trips to access transit stops, suggesting that it probably increased overall cycling levels; the same study reported a positive impact of short-term bike rental programs at Dutch train stations (public transport bikes), raising the bike share of egress trips from stations to activity destinations.

John Pucher, pucher@rci.rutgers.edu
Rutgers University
New Brunswick, New Jersey USA

Suggested references:

Hegger, R., 2007. Public transport and cycling: living apart or together? Public Transport International. 56 (2), 38-41.

Martens, K., 2007. Promoting Bike and Ride: The Dutch experience. Transportation Research Part A. 41, 326-338

Pucher, J., Buehler, R., 2009. Integration of bicycling with public transport. Journal of Public Transportation. 12 (3), autumn 2009 in press.

Rietveld, P., 2000. The accessibility of railway stations: the role of the bicycle in the Netherlands. Transportation Research Part D. 5, 71-75

TRB, 2005. Integration of Bicycles and Transit. TCRP Synthesis Report 62. Washington: Transportation Research Board, National Research Council, National Academy of Sciences


Print this article