“Hot Zone” Commuters Taking Bikeshare to Use Metro

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Paul is Arlington County's program manager for Capital Bikeshare.
January 21, 2014

In Capital Bikeshare’s 2013 customer survey, the local government regional partnership that created the service asked who made trips to and from Metro. It turns out that 54 percent of our customers do.

So how far do Capital Bikeshare customers ride to get to and from Metro and their home? Well, we had some interesting findings which include a “hot zone” of bikeshare activity surrounding Metro stations.

HotZone

Using Capital Bikeshare trip duration data for all stations during a week in July 2013, we determined the trip distances to and from Capital Bikeshare stations adjacent to Metrorail stations. Shown in the two similar charts below, Capital Bikeshare trips starting and ending at Metro stations have the most common trip distance of 0.5-0.75 miles. Not surprising as this distance makes for a good 10- to 15-minute walk.

Trip Endings

Trips between 0.75-1.0 miles and 0.25-0.5 miles are not far behind as being the most common to and from Metro stations. Trips in the 0.25-1.0 mile range account for about 40 percent of the distances of the first-mile/last-mile trips and turn a 5- to 20-minute walking trip into an even quicker bike trip.

Longer distance trips become less common the further away the destination or origin become. Short trips of less than 0.25 miles are less frequent as they don’t save the customer time from walking. You’ll see that more trips in this range were made going to Metro, than from Metro, which leads me to believe that bikeshare is good for making up lost time in the morning when one leaves home late for work.

Some stations’ main purpose is to service a Metro station. The data visualization below created by Mobility Lab’s Michael Schade shows the residential bikeshare station at Lee Highway  and North Adams Street sends a majority of its trips to the Courthouse Metro – as shown by a thick red arrow – whereas other stations are serviced by the origin station although far less frequently, as shown by the thin arrows. The two stations are about 0.6 miles apart. The second data visualization shows the Courthouse Metro sending a majority of its customers to both Lee and Adams and a nearby station at North Veitch and 20th Streets. Similar results will be found to and from other Metro stations.

Schade

Capital Bikeshare is a useful transit service for first-mile/last-mile trips to and from Metro, and this analysis shows that about 40 percent of bikeshare trips involving Metro are within that first and last mile.

Due to this important linkage, Arlington County will continue to place stations within this 0.25-1.0 mile hot zone around Metro stations, where land use contributes to a high residential and commercial population density. This is a no-brainer for bikeshare customers who are making these trips, but good to have some data to confirm it.

Here is a link to the presentation I gave on these findings (it’s the same as the Slideshare at the top of this page) at the recent Transportation Research Board conference in Washington D.C.

Slideshow photo by Bossi

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar J price January 21, 2014 at 5:24 PM

Great job, we could really use some in bucking ham a bit further north from perishing and George mason, like at Henderson or park..

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avatar cabi addict January 23, 2014 at 9:21 AM

This is an excellent presentation of the utility of bikeshare as a first and last-mile solution for the Metro, and applies equally well to VRE, MARC and bus lines in the region.

This is, as noted, a no-brainer but unfortunately Metro has become as much of an impediment as a solution — of Capital Bikeshare’s 307 stations, not one is located on WMATA property. The bikeshare at Rhode Island Avenue metro has been delayed for over a year waiting for Metro’s permission to install. Takoma, Rockville and Shady Grove are also on hold and their conspicuous absence is not helping bikeshare’s rollout in Montgomery County.

The cause of this roadblock is not at all clear. In Arlington County you should consider yourselves fortunate that your Metro stations are situated where this is not an issue.

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avatar Paul DeMaio January 23, 2014 at 1:43 PM

cabi addict, actually one station is on Metro property to date — the Virginia Square Metro. Metro owns the land and the building there has a surface lease. Other agreements are in the works for RI Ave., Takoma, Rockville, and Shady Grove Metros. They’ll likely be done soon with new CaBi stations for each.

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avatar Peter Harnik January 24, 2014 at 4:24 PM

Thanks, Paul. This research seems totally intuitive, which is nice. Bikeshare within the Metro corridor is duplicative of Metro. What we need are Bike Stations perpendicular to the Metro corridor, such as along Lee Highway and Arlington Blvd. Walking a mile from Cherrydale and Maywood to Virginia Square or Ballston takes about 20-30 minutes each way, which is a real deal-killer for many people. We’ve really been waiting a long time for North Arlington bike stations.

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