Cycling to Transit

Posted by Content Coordinator on Tuesday, January 27th, 2015



Mobility hubs are major transit access points and an integrated part of multi-modal transportation planning efforts. For the implementation of bicycle infrastructure improvements around mobility hubs a better understanding of bicycle access distances is needed. Using responses from onboard travel surveys in three US metropolitan areas this study found that median bicycle access distances to transit stations are within the buffer radii suggested for community hubs (1 mile) and gateway hubs (2 miles) in long range transportation plans. Multiple regression analysis identified several street and transit network characteristics affecting bicycle access distance, which should be considered when planning infrastructure improvements.


The Transit Capacity and Quality of Service Manual (TCQSM) addresses transit availability at a planning level within three measures, which are service frequency, hours of service, and service coverage (Kittelson & Associates, 2003). Service coverage relates to the spatial availability of transit services to the traveler and can be measured, for example, as route miles per square mile, or percentage of the system area served. Since land uses, population densities, and job densities may vary greatly from one system to another, the transportation literature suggests to use transport supportive areas instead, which look at how much of the area that would typically produce the majority of a system’s ridership, i.e., the densest areas, are served (Pushkarev and Zupan, 1977). Closely related to this is the concept of service area or catchment area, which describes the area around a transit station where potential riders are drawn from. The service area of a public transportation station is a measure of the access distance. The distance that a passenger is willing to travel to access a public transport means is related to the type of feeder mode, where this paper focuses on the service area for cyclists.

Service areas play an important role in long range transportation plans (LRTP). LRTPs aim to provide opportunities for travelers to move around other than by single-occupant vehicle travel, including walking, cycling, and public transportation. Mobility hubs, which are an essential component of LRTPs, can be characterized as places where a majority of travelers would interact with a proposed multi-modal transportation system (Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization, 2009). Current LRTPs envision a bicycle infrastructure that improves overall mobility, air quality and access to opportunities. They stress the importance of increasing bicycle access to multi-modal transit hubs to extend the reach of the transit hubs without a car (Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization, 2009; Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, 2009; Metropolitan Council, 2009). As an example, the 2035 Long Range Transportation Plan for Broward County, Florida, defines three types of mobility hubs, which are gateway hubs, anchor hubs, and community hubs (Broward Metropolitan Planning Organization, 2009). Strategies associated with these hubs include bicycle linkage improvements within a two-mile radius for gateway hubs, and within a one-mile radius for the remaining two hub types. These guidelines assume that all transit stations and stops of a certain hub type provide the same service area, which may not be the case. In order to better understand the size of service areas for cyclists data from three on-board transit surveys are analyzed in this study. The first survey was conducted in 2008 for the Southern California Regional Rail Authority on the Metrolink network in the greater Los Angeles area. The second resource is the 2009 Atlanta Regional On-Board Transit Survey (ETC Institute, 2010), and the third dataset comes from the 2010 Travel Behavior Inventory (TBI) of the greater Twin Cities area. The goal of this study is to estimate bicycle service areas around transit stations. More specifically, it is of interest to identify whether a 1-2 mile radius is sufficient for consideration of bicycle facility improvements around transit stations, how service areas vary among stations and networks, and which factors affect the size of service areas.

Download full version (PDF): Assessment of Bicycle Services Around Transit Stations

About the Fort Lauderdale Research Center
We develop sustainable management for tropical and subtropical landscape systems and reduce the impact of invasive animals and plants on both natural and highly urbanized habitats.


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