NiceStations: Optimally Locating NiceRide Minnesota Bike Share Stations

Principal Investigator(s):

David Levinson, Former U of M Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project summary:

Bike-share systems have been rolled out in cities around the world. Little is known, however, about how people integrate bike-share trip segments into their daily travel. This study evaluates how people navigate from place to place using the NiceRide Minnesota bike-share system in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. The researchers measure changes in job accessibility due to the addition of NiceRide stations and develop a theoretical model for bike-share station choice. The mapped results suggest that NiceRide provides the strongest job accessibility improvement at the 30-minute threshold in a band just beyond the central business district where walking would not be feasible.

The researchers also model people's choice of origin station to evaluate their sensitivity to time spent walking, distance, and a set of station amenity and neighborhood control variables. As expected, people prefer to use stations that do not require deviating from the shortest path to reach a station. For commuters, each additional minute of walking decreases a station's chance of being chosen, regardless of the overall trip length. Commuters also chose stations closer to parks. Conversely, users making non-work trips are sensitive to the ratio of walking to biking time (with a preference for time spent biking). Stations in neighborhoods with lower crime rates were more likely to be chosen for all trip purposes.

The results from this study are important for planners who need to better understand bike-share user behavior to design or optimize these systems. The findings also provide a strong foundation for future research about bike-share system modeling.

Project details: