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

Rebecca Martin, Yilan Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-78
Number of pages16
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
StatePublished - Jan 2022


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Transportation
  • Management Science and Operations Research


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