Is tech-enhanced bikeshare a substitute or complement for public transit?

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - north america, mode - bike, mode - bus, ridership - young people, ridership - growth, technology - geographic information systems


Public transit, Bikeshare, Technological innovation, First mile/last mile, Difference-in-differences


Technology-enhanced bikeshare features a dockless system with GPS-tracked electric bikes and a mobile app. As an additional transportation mode, it offers users greater accessibility and more flexibility compared to traditional bikeshare. This paper examines the causal impact of a tech-enhanced bikeshare program on public transit ridership, using evidence from a mid-sized metropolitan area in the Midwest of the United States. We use a difference-in-differences identification, exploring the exogenous hourly variation in precipitation and the fact that bicycle usage is limited when precipitation occurs. We find that the initial pedal bicycle fleet with a dockless system increased bus ridership by 1% and the subsequent upgrades to electric bikes further increased bus ridership by an additional 1.1%. The increased bus ridership occurred where and when the travel demand arose, providing suggestive evidence of bikeshare trips solving the first-/last-mile problem. The increased bus ridership occurred mostly in block groups with a lower median household income, a younger population, lower vehicle ownership rate, and lower homeownership rate.


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


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