Biking to Transit: First Mile, Last Mile?

By Charles Pekow –

Can better connections to bus and train depots increase ridership? A new research brief from the Transitway Impacts Research Program at the University of Minnesota asks that question. The university looked at how Twin City commuters and others in 16 areas around the country got to public transit (cts.umn.edu/Publications/ResearchReports/reportdetail.html?id=2776).

“Women are more likely to view biking negatively than men do. This possibly indicates barriers to bike usage compared to other modes,” the report says. And while people considered time the biggest factor in choosing how to get to the bus, they also factored in safety.

A specific question the program asked was whether better bike connections would help. It came up with a quite unsatisfactory answer: “There was a lack of nationally consistent data about bike and pedestrian facilities. As a result, the study could not determine if better bike or pedestrian connections would create more transit trips.”

The project did, however, come up with a new way to measure bike connections to transitway stations. Rather than just counting routes or trips, it calculated the geographic area (but not the number of people) who could bike to the station on local roads within 15 minutes.

 

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