A Return on Investment Analysis of Bikes-on-Bus Programs

Document Type


Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - stop, planning - surveys, land use - planning, policy - parking, mode - bus, mode - bike, mode


Bicycle parking, Bicycle racks; Bicycles, Bicycles on transit, Bus stops, Residential areas, Return on investment, Strategic planning, Surveys, Transit buses


As bikes-on-bus (BOB) programs become popular and demand increases, the typical rack capacity of only two bicycles per bus can limit the integration of bicycles and transit. The purpose of this project was to conduct a return on investment analysis of BOB programs, and to develop recommendations on how transit agencies can overcome rack capacity limitations. Fifteen transit agencies and over 200 BOB users were surveyed. Missing data, specifically the number of BOB boardings, made a rigorous return on investment analysis impracticable. However, the findings showed that transit agencies generally view the initial investment and operational costs of BOB programs to be minimal compared to the return on the investment. The BOB user survey results showed that BOB programs attract new patrons, encourage increased use of transit, and expand the transit service area. When faced with rack capacity limitations, the transit agencies have added three-bike capacity racks or have experimented with allowing bicycles in the bus. While added rack capacity and an effective bikes-in-bus (BIB) policy can improve the integration of bicycles and transit, it is recommended that transit agencies invest in a bike-to-transit strategy. The survey results showed that BOB users tend to bicycle a greater distance from their residence to the bus stop than between the bus stop and the work site. Therefore, this strategy is centered on the provision of bicycle parking at bus stops and transfer centers to accommodate BOB users that need their bicycle on only one side of their transit trip. Bicycle parking at bus stops, specifically in residential areas, can ease the impact of rack capacity limitations and maximize the potential of the bicycle as a means to access transit.