The interplay between dockless bikeshare and bus for small-size cities in the US: A case study of Ithaca

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

mode - bike, mode - bus, place - north america, place - urban, planning - integration, ridership - commuting, ridership - behaviour


Dockless bikeshare, Bus, Public transit, Multimodal trips, First-and-last-mile, Trip level analysis, Spatiotemporal


As another mode of shared transportation, bikeshare can substitute or complement public transit. Prior studies mainly relied on self-reported survey data or aggregated station-level data from docked bikeshare systems, and their conclusions and implications were focused on large cities. It is largely unknown how and to what extent a dockless bikeshare system complements or substitutes public transit, especially in small cities. This study was set to measure the interplay between Lime dockless bikeshare and bus service in Ithaca, NY – a typical small-size college town – and its environs. By joining about 3.42 million records of bus stop data and 102 thousand Lime bikeshare trip data from 2019, two types of Bikeshare-Bus-Linkage (BBL) trips were identified, namely (1) the first-mile trip where a user rides a Lime to board a bus, and (2) the last-mile trip where a user bikes to their destination after alighting a bus. BBL trips were identified using a spatiotemporal proximity framework based on two important parameters: the catchment radius and the time window between a bus stop event and a Lime trip. Different values were tested with a sensitivity analysis, and the parameters were finally set at 100 ft. and 5 min. As such, 3026 BBL trips were identified, which was 3% of total Lime ridership or 0.1% of total bus ridership. Our findings indicated that Lime provided useful first- and last-mile transfers to bus service for commuters. The complementary effect was particularly strong in the urban core and with transit development and employment land use areas. Moreover, in the morning peak, there were more first-mile trips from residential areas to bus stops in the urban core, while in the evening peak more last-mile trips started from bus stops in the urban core to residential areas. Based on the unique first-mile and last-mile trip patterns identified, policy implications and recommendations for bikeshare operators, local government, transit agencies, and transportation policymakers were discussed to better integrate bikeshare and public transit.


Permission to publish the abstract has been given by Elsevier, copyright remains with them.


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