Study finds bike sharing could increase light-rail transit ridership

Using math and computer modeling, University of Waterloo researchers studied ways to couple bike-share programs with public transit

June 11, 2018
bike-share for transit

Coupling bike-share with public transit could be an important component when trying to increase light rail transit (LRT) ridership, according to a new study out of the University of Waterloo.

In their study, researchers from Waterloo explored the most efficient size of a bike pool that would ensure enough bikes would be available to commuters who sign up for a share program.

While the study is not specific to any particular region, co-author Srinivasan Keshav, who is a professor in Waterloo’s Cheriton School of Computer Science, believes bike-share programs could be a component that municipalities, which are unveiling or revitalizing light rail transit systems, want to consider.

Using mathematics and computer modelling, the researchers worked out the most efficient way to couple bike-share programs with public transit systems. The study involved taking big data from a Montreal bike-share program and then using that data to model commuter schedules, and the number of people obtaining or returning bikes at different times and stops.

The model considered commuters who ride rental bikes home from the train station in the evening, then ride back the next morning and drop the bike off. The model anticipates that commuters ride the train to a stop near their work, and pick up a different bike to complete the journey to work.

There are many bike-share programs in the world, but Keshav said that to his knowledge, this study is the first time anyone has tried to calculate the needs of a bike-share program coupled with public transit. He believes this model could be used on any multimodal private and public transportation system.

The study appeared recently in the journal IEEE Transactions on Intelligent Transportation Systems.

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Source: University of Waterloo 

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