Since its launch in May 2013, and despite early criticism, New York City’s bike share program has been a huge success. Users have taken more than 6.5 million Citi Bike trips, and nearly 100,000 people have become annual riders.
A new report from NYU Wagner’s Rudin Center for Transportation and Policy Management argues that Citi Bike has “become an integral part of New York City’s transportation network,” largely because its stations are located to connect with the subway system and let riders cover the “last mile.” It says:
Serving 5.4 million riders every weekday with over 700 miles of track, the subway extends far beyond Citi Bike’s geographic reach. However, the subway carries millions each day, many of whom use Citi Bike to cut down on travel time by biking, rather than walking or taking a bus or taxi, the “last mile” to their destination. In analysing the busiest stations, we found a strong connection between existing transit infrastructure and hubs and Citi Bike’s use.
With the permission of authors Lily Gordon-Koven and Nolan Levenson, we’ve republished three charts from the report that make that connection clear.
The average Citi Bike station is just 934 feet from a subway entrance, and just about all of them are within half a mile of one.
Compared to bike share programs in Chicago and Washington, D.C., Citi Bike stations are much closer to public transit options (not counting buses).
Less than 40% of D.C. bike share stations are within a quarter mile of a subway station:
This isn’t to say the Chicago and D.C. programs aren’t successful, and it’s worth noting the heavy rail systems in those cities aren’t as big as New York’s.
But it’s clear Citi Bike works because for New Yorkers, it extends the subway, a system that’s already massive and popular.
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