M-RCBG Associate Working Paper No. 142

Bike-Sharing is Transit: Building Tools to Plan and Optimize Bike-Sharing Networks

Honorable Mention, 2020 Dunlop Thesis Prize

Dhruv Gupta



Urban America is infamous for its broader lack of public transit connectivity. Millions of Americans are termed as “transit-dependent”, which means they do not have immediate access to a vehicle or otherwise cannot drive and must use an alternative means of transportation. About 11% of Americans commute with public transit every day and in general 10-12% of Americans do not have access to a car, rendering them transit-dependent. These Americans are likely barred from vital services and getting to work. Unfortunately, even getting to public transit options can be a struggle for many urban residents as “first/last mile connectivity”, defined by the physical distance from the trip origin to the public transit station, can be poor in many urban environments. Too many Americans live in so-called “transit deserts”, areas where transportation demand significantly exceeds supply even in dense environments. As urban populations grow, the importance of sustainable, accessible urban transportation options grows, and bike-sharing systems provide an effective solution to both, offering an environmentally friendly, healthy, and congestion-limiting option for commuters.

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