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Capital Bikeshare Both Replaces and Promotes Transit Trips

10:55 AM EDT on March 26, 2012

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One of the criticisms you hear about bikeshare systems is that they will only replace trips that would otherwise have been by walking or taking transit. But Capital Bikeshare keeps confounding the critics. The full picture is much more complex and interesting, with Cabi replacing bus and rail trips but also leading subscribers to use the transit system more often.

The Wash Cycle blog has a breakdown of CaBi data, and the results offer pretty good news for public health and green transportation:

One of the more interesting facts within the plan is the breakdown of how CaBi has changed mode-use options. It is doing a lot to shift people towards healthier options, as well as cleaner ones. For example, Without CaBi 55% of users would have taken a non-active mode and 13% would have used a car.

Two numbers that might be overlooked, but are actually very important are that 6% of CaBi users would have just not taken the trip, while only 5% would have used their own bike. That is a glaring statement that what CaBi is about is giving people a choice they didn't feel they already had. There was a large number of people out there who wanted to bike, but felt they couldn't and Capital Bikeshare has made that an option for them. There are another 6% who would have just stayed where they were because they felt like no good transportation choice.

And even when people weren't on a bike, CaBi changed the way they got around. "A quarter of respondents reported that they now use traditional transit more frequently than they did prior to becoming CaBi members, while 5 percent reported that they now use their personal bicycles more often."

Elsewhere on the Network today: Streets.mn says that the goal of city and regional planners should be to "maximize accessibility." This Big City shares a study that found walkable streets discourage crime. And Greater Greater Washington says that the National Park Service is slowly getting more bike friendly.

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