Bicycle Sharing and Public Transit: Does Capital Bikeshare Affect Metrorail Ridership in Washington, D.C.?

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

infrastructure - station, mode - bike, mode - subway/metro, place - north america, place - urban, ridership - behaviour, ridership - growth


Bicycle-sharing, sustainable travel, public transit, Metrorail


Bicycle-sharing programs have emerged around the world. Theoretically, the effect of bicycle sharing on more conventional transit modes can take a substitute or complementary form. On one hand, bicycle sharing could substitute for conventional transit as a convenient and sustainable travel option. On the other hand, bicycle sharing may complement such transit by seamlessly connecting transit stations with origins and destinations and thus increase accessibility. However, the questions of how and to what extent bicycle-sharing programs affect public transit ridership remain to be answered, despite the attempts of a few empirical and quantitative studies. This study examined the impact of the Capital Bikeshare (CaBi) program on Metrorail’s ridership in Washington, D.C. When CaBi trips were mapped, it was observed that Metrorail stations had been important origins and destinations for CaBi trips. Six of seven CaBi stations producing more than 500 trips were located close to Metrorail stations. This study conducted a regression analysis and found that public transit ridership was positively associated with CaBi ridership at the station level. A 10% increase in annual CaBi ridership contributed to a 2.8% increase in average daily Metrorail ridership. On the basis of these results, policy implications and recommendations are discussed.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Transportation Research Board, Washington, copyright remains with them.