Seeing BikeShare Through New Eyes

Screen shot 2014-08-29 at 6.09.14 PMIt’s easy to look at Austin B-cycle’s bright red bikes and think of them as a convenient, fun way to get around Central Austin. But there’s reason to believe that bikeshare systems like B-cycle are really more a part of city transit systems than a bike commuter tool.

A study from Berkeley researchers recently looked at who is using bikeshare and how they’re using it. The study evaluated survey data from Washington D.C. and Minneapolis to look at “who is shifting toward and away from public transit as a result of bikesharing.”

As it turns out, people are using bikeshare systems to either make new connections to public transit, or as a substitute for shorter transit rides. Either way, bikeshare systems are complementing public transit systems.

Here in Austin we’ve seen that B-cycle bikes are a great “last mile” connector between transit and a final destination. Where you may not have taken MetroRail to work because the walk from the station to your job was too long, for instance, a bikeshare bike can close that gap and make the train ride a realistic and convenient commute option.

The study’s authors conclude “In all cases, as demonstrated by its remarkable ability to attract modal share in North America, public bikesharing appears to be improving urban mobility and lowering dependency on automobile travel.”

As the options continue to grow for Austin commuters, having pieces like bikeshare that connect them will hopefully help us tackle traffic and get us out of our driving alone habits.

image via Austin B-cycle

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