Shifting from Metro to Sustainable Surface Modes for Short-Distance Travel

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, mode - bus, mode - bike, mode - pedestrian, mode - subway/metro, ridership - mode choice, planning - surveys, planning - travel demand management, economics - pricing


multimodal transportation corridor, mode preferences, stated preference survey


Many cities with metro systems are experiencing overcapacity problems on some or many lines. Beijing is one such city whose metro also services a high proportion of short-distance trips. The proportion of short-distance travel—less than 5 km (3.1 mi)—carried out on foot or on bicycle varies greatly across cities, depending on alternative travel modes and local environmental conditions. In this study, users of a multimodal transportation corridor that included metro (n = 400) were interviewed about their travel mode preferences depending on distance within the short-distance travel category. Users were also asked to state their preferences for mode, depending on distance and a progressive rise in metro ticket fare. Finally, users were asked to state their mode preferences for trips that extended to five metro stations if a public bicycle system with a separate lane were made available. Modal choice was highly sensitive to variable short-distance trips. A progressive shift to bus use occurred as the metro fare price increased, with little change in the walking rate or in the use of motorized modes. When the original low metro fare price was maintained, the availability of a public bicycle system led to a sevenfold increase in bicycle use, with significant drops in bus share, and to a lesser extent, metro share. Responses to the stated preference survey indicated that fares and a public bicycle program might be effective to manage the use of metro for short-distance trips.


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