Bike/Transit Integration


TDM Encyclopedia

Victoria Transport Policy Institute


Updated 23 April 2018

This chapter describes ways of integrating bicycling and public transit travel, including improved cycling access and bicycle storage at transit stops and stations, and the ability to carry bikes on transit vehicles.




Bicycling integrates well with Public Transit (bus, train, ferry, and air transport). Transit is most effective for moderate- and long-distance trips on busy corridors, while cycling is effective for shorter-distance trips with multiple stops. Combining transit and cycling can provide a high level of mobility comparable to automobile travel.


A transit stop normally draws riders within a 10-minute (a half-mile) walking distance. At a modest riding speed a cyclists can travel three or four times that distance in the same time, increasing the transit catchment area about ten-fold (Accessibility). Bicycle access tends to be particularly important in suburban areas where densities are moderate and destinations are dispersed (Bracher 2000). Several strategies for integrating cycling and transit are described below.


Bikes on Transit

Transit vehicles can carry bicycles, with bikeracks mounted on buses or by carrying bicycles in vehicles (often only during off-peak periods). This allows a bicycle to be used at both ends of the journey, and helps cyclists who experience a mechanical failure, unexpected bad weather, or sudden illness. It also allows cyclists to pass major barriers, such as tunnels or bridges, where cycling is prohibited or particularly difficult. About a third of all transit buses in North America now have bike racks, and many rail systems have some provisions for carrying bikes (Goldman and Murray 2011).


Bicycle Storage at Transit Stops

It is important to provide good Bicycle Parking at transit stops and transportation terminals. Commuters who leave high-quality bicycles at a transit stop all day require a high level of security and are willing to pay for it, although simpler bike racks may be adequate for many cyclists, so a mix of paid lockers and free racks may be appropriate. The table below compares typical costs for automobile and bicycle parking.


Table 1          Park-and-Ride and Bike-and-Ride Facility Comparison (Replogle and Parcells 1992)




Land requirements (m2)



Installation cost per space

$10,000 - $12,000

$140 - $800

Operating cost per space (year)


$0 - $30



Bicycle Access to Transit Stations

Bicycle access to transit can be improved by providing paths, bike lanes and road improvements that make it easier to ride to transit stations and terminals (Bicycle Improvements). Maps that illustrate the best cycling routes between terminals and common destinations are also helpful.


Bikes on Taxis

Taxi Improvements may include special provisions to accommodate bicycles, providing cyclists with an important fallback option when they have medical or mechanical problems.


Public Bike Systems

Public Bike Systems (PBS) are automated bicycle rental systems designed to provide efficient mobility for short, utilitarian urban trips. They often have stations at public transit stations. This is particularly common in Northern European countries such as Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands. Similarly, bicycle rental businesses are common near ferry terminals on many of the resort islands along the Washington State and British Columbia coasts.



How it is Implemented

Bike/Transit Integration is usually implemented by transit agencies, often in consultation with bicycle user groups and transit operators. Implementation typically involves the following steps (Nonmotorized Transport Planning):


·         Determine which routes and stops will be bicycle accessible.


·         Select, purchase and install equipment. Some transit agencies now specify that all new buses will be equipped with bikeracks, just as they specify wheelchair accessibility.


·         Train operators and users. Some transit agencies take a bikerack to public events that cyclists can use to practice mounting bikes on.


·         Market the service. Transit agencies often print a brochure describing bikerack use, and add information on bikeracks to bus schedules.



Travel Impacts

Bike/Transit integration supports both transit and bicycle transportation (Wang and Liu 2013; Wedderburn 2013). Bicycling significantly expands the transit catchment area, and therefore potential public transit demand (Flamm and Charles Rivasplata 2014).  Bicycle and transit integration has proven successful in attracting new riders. Transit agencies find that a significant portion of bike locker and rack users consist of new transit riders. For example, 30% of users of Vancouver’s bike lockers at a transit station had not previously used public transit to commute (Planning and Marketing Division, 1992).


The travel impacts of a particular Bike/Transit project depend on whether it significantly improves access, and whether conditions are conducive to cycling and transit. Bike/Transit integration can be an important part of overall transit and bicycle improvements, and can be particularly important for encouraging transit use in lower-density suburbs. For more information see Evaluating Nonmotorized Transport.


Many European and Japanese cities achieve much more balanced transportation, in part, by effectively integrating bicycling and transit. The table above shows the high usage of these modes in some countries. The potential for vehicle travel reductions is large when conditions are suitable.


Table 2          Travel Impact Summary




Reduces total traffic.


Is a cost-effective way to reduce vehicle travel in the right conditions.

Reduces peak period traffic.



Shifts peak to off-peak periods.



Shifts automobile travel to alternative modes.


Encourages cycling and transit use.

Improves access, reduces the need for travel.



Increased ridesharing.



Increased public transit.


Encourages cycling and transit use.

Increased cycling.


Encourages cycling and transit use.

Increased walking.



Increased Telework.



Reduced freight traffic.



Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.



Benefits And Costs

Benefits include increased choice and security for cyclists, increased cycling and transit use, and reduced automobile travel (Wedderburn 2013). Costs include expenses to purchase, install and maintain bike racks and lockers; liability, accident risk and delays from bike racks on buses; and increased stress to drivers. Most transit agencies that carry bikes on racks or in vehicles experience minimal problems once the programs are established, as indicated by the large number of transit agencies that have expanded this service.


Bicycle racks suitable for buses typically cost $500-1,000 (U.S. dollars) for a high-quality model that can carry two bicycles (SportWorks). Bike racks on buses can create operational problems (such as extending bus size, and making it more difficult to wash buses). Simple bicycle storage racks typically cost $50-100 per bike. Covered bike racks and lockers cost $300-1,000 per bicycle, depending on design, materials and location. Bike storage may take up valuable space around transit stations.


Table 3          Benefit Summary




Congestion Reduction


Reduces automobile travel.

Road & Parking Savings


Reduces automobile travel.

Consumer Savings


Reduces automobile travel, increases affordable travel options.

Transport Choice


Improves choices for cyclists, and can help in emergencies.

Road Safety


May allow cyclist to avoid riding on busy, dangerous roads.

Environmental Protection


Reduces automobile travel.

Efficient Land Use


Reduces automobile travel.

Community Livability


Reduces automobile travel, increases cycling.

Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.



Equity Impacts

Only cyclists directly benefit from bike storage and racks, so some noncyclists may disapprove of public expenditures on facilities and services they do not use. However, these expenditures are usually smaller than public expenditures on facilities and services provided to motorists, such as free parking (Transportation Costs), and all road users can benefit indirectly from reduced traffic congestion and crash risk. By improving affordable mobility for non-drivers this strategy increases vertical equity and benefits some people who are transportation disadvantaged (those who rely on both cycling and transit).


Table 4          Equity Summary




Treats everybody equally.


Only directly benefits cyclists.

Individuals bear the costs they impose.


May involve subsidies, although probably smaller than subsidies for driving the same trip.

Progressive with respect to income.


Cyclists and transit riders tend to be lower-income.

Benefits transportation disadvantaged.


Significantly improves mobility for some non-drivers.

Improves basic mobility.


Improves travel options and provides helps cyclists deal with emergencies, such as a broken bike.

Rating from 3 (very beneficial) to –3 (very harmful). A 0 indicates no impact or mixed impacts.




Bike/Transit integration is particularly appropriate for regional travel (longer-distance trips) in areas with heavy cycling activity. It is primarily implemented at the regional or local level, but other levels of government sometimes provide financial support. Some developers and private companies provide bike storage near transit stations.


Table 5          Application Summary





Large urban region.


Federal government.


High-density, urban.


State/provincial government.


Medium-density, urban/suburban.


Regional government.




Municipal/local government.


Low-density, rural.


Business Associations/TMA.


Commercial center.


Individual business.


Residential neighborhood.




Resort/recreation area.


Neighborhood association.


Transit centers




Ratings range from 0 (not appropriate) to 3 (very appropriate).




Improved Travel Choice



Relationships With Other TDM Strategies

This strategy supports Nonmotorized Planning, Cycling Improvements, Bicycle Encouragement, Transit Improvements and Shuttle Services. It can be part of Transit Oriented Development, Commute Trip Reduction, Campus Trip Management, and Transportation Management Association efforts. It includes Bicycle Parking. Its effectiveness increases with other strategies that encourage cycling and public transit.




Most Bike/Transit projects are implemented by public transit agencies. Bike routes to transit stops are usually implemented by local government as part of bicycle planning. In a few cities, private companies provide bicycle parking services at transit stations.



Barriers To Implementation

Program funding is often the primary barrier. There may be resistance to carrying bicycles on transit vehicles from transit agency planners and drivers who are concerned about schedule delays and liability problems.



Best Practices

Publications cited below describe best practices for integrating cycling and transit service. These include:


·         Cyclists should be involved in planning Bike/Transit programs and selecting hardware.


·         Bike Parking facilities should be well designed, provide cover from the weather, and be located where they are not in the way of traffic.


·         If possible there should be some fully enclosed bike storage lockers suitable for long-term bike storage.


·         Bike/Transit programs should be well publicized, and include instructions for cyclists on how to use facilities.



Wit and Humor

Imagine what would happen if sometime while you are out bicycling a flying saucer drops down and offers you an interplanetary ride. You could say, “Sure, let’s go to the Chryse Planitia, and we’ll head southeastward from there.” Then show those nice aliens that earthlings are as good at mountain biking as any life form in the galaxy…


For the full story read: Cycling Route Perfect For Heavenly Bodies



Case Studies and Examples

Pucher and Buehler (2009) and Krizek, Stonebraker and Tribbey (2011) provide detailed information on several North American case studies of Bike-Bus Integration.


Public Transit, Cycling and Walking Integration Evaluation (Wedderburn 2013)

The report, Improving The Cost-Benefit Analysis Of Integrated PT, Walking And Cycling  by the New Zealand Transport Agency examines methods for evaluating the benefits and costs of strategies that improve the integration of public transport, walking and cycling.  


It identified various interventions that could contribute to greater integration of walking and cycling with public transport, including:

• Land use planning that encouraged residential densities conducive to short walking and cycling trips.

• Walking and cycling networks that were attractive, perceived to be safe, and offered a direct journey between passengers’ trip origins, destinations, and stations or stops.

• Provision for secure bicycle parking at PT nodes.

• Provision for the carriage of bicycles on PT.

• Bicycle rental systems.


Various demographic and transportation system design factors influence walking and cycling access to transit, and the degree that this reduces automobile travel. A key finding is that if travelers shift from automobile to public transport as the main mode of transport, this change typically had a leverage effect on other travel. An analysis of the travel patterns of the population as a whole showed that for each additional transit trip, the average number of daily walking trips increased by 0.95 and the distance walked increased by 1.21km (ie walking as a main mode, additional to any walking trips to access public transport). For each additional public transit trip there was an average daily reduction of two car driver trips and 45km driven (people of driving age 18+ only).


This research resulted in the development of an evaluation tool (available at, which incorporates the findings from studies of travel behaviour in New Zealand and internationally, for estimating the benefit-cost ratio of improving walking and cycling access to public transport. The economic evaluation parameters remain consistent with the current valuations contained in the Transport Agency’s Economic evaluation manual. An illustrative application of the evaluation tool is included.


North America Bike-On-Transit Services (

This website lists dozens of North American transit agencies that accommodate bicycling.


Bikestations (

Bikestations are attended bike-transit centers that offer secure valet bicycle parking and other transit amenities to encourage the use of a bicycle as a transportation mode.  Currently three facilities are in operation in California; Long Beach, Palo Alto and Berkeley.


Los Angeles MTA

The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority is installing front-mounted bike racks on its buses. Each rack holds two bicycles, and features an easy-to-use spring-action latch that allows the mounting and dismounting of a bicycle in about 30 seconds. Within four years the entire 2,200 MTA bus fleet should be bicycle compatible and newer buses will come equipped from the factory with the bike racks. The MTA is working with the LA County Bicycle Advisory Group, the LA Bicycle Advisory Committee and several other bike organizations to determine the most appropriate bus routes to select. Studies indicate that the most likely users of bus bikeracks are cyclists who are a mile or two away from a bike route. MTA expects the bicycle racks will attract a new market of riders.


Seattle Metro (

Seattle Metro transit agency’s entire bus fleet was equipped with bicycle racks in 1994. Bikes can be transported on board any bus on a first come, first served basis. No additional fare is required. Bicycles may be loaded or unload at any bus zone at any time, except, in the central business district where some restrictions apply. More than 40,000 cyclists use these racks each month.


San Francisco Bay Area (

Nearly all of the San Francisco Bay area transit agencies accommodate bicycles (there are more than a dozen), either with racks or by allowing bicycles inside (sometimes only during off-peak periods).


Nottingham Tram and Bicycle Integration Study (

The city of Nottingham, UK, has a new tram system. A research project at the University of Nottingham aims to identify ways of minimizing risks for cyclists and encourage the integration of bike and tram transport. The project will report on three main issues: safety implications; bike-and-ride; bike carriage on trams. The project is jointly-funded by the Department of Transport, in partnership with Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County Councils. Research will focus on recent UK experience of trams, (including Sheffield, Croydon, West Midlands and Manchester), but will also look at European practice. The results of the research are intended to inform revised guidelines on integrating bikes and trams. The 12-month project will run until January 2002.  A website has been established to help publicize the project. This can be found at:


Bikes and Transit (


Ways to use bicycles and transit together


  • Suburban to city commute: Bike commute downhill into town, take the train or bus home. Or, keep a bike parked downtown so that you have quick access to more places to eat or shop at lunch time. Avoid rainy weather, bringing your bike with you on transit rather than getting wet. Bike from home to the bus or train, and then continue on with your commute. When you get to your destination, you will have your bike to help you continue on with your trip.


  • Suburban to suburban commute: Bicycle to the train. Take the train or bus as close as you can to your workplace. Then bicycle to your destination.


  • Cross rivers and lakes: Many bridges do not have bicycle or pedestrian access. Bringing your bike onboard a bus, train, or ferry can be the answer.


  • Access national parks: Many National Parks now have buses with bike racks. Having a bike allows you to cover more ground than walking. Acadia National Park and the Grand Canyon are good examples.


  • Carpooling: Ride with a friend to their worksite and then bicycle the rest of the way to work.


  • Use two bikes: If you don't want to, or can't bring your bike on transit, then keep an inexpensive bike parked at each end of your transit ride.


  • Use a folding bike: Folding bikes are small and can be carried onto almost all vehicles. This is especially helpful on airplanes and on Amtrak, which limits bicycle access on many trains (but has great access on others, such as the Vermonter and route along the Pacific Ocean).


  • Traveling: For someone visiting a city on business, a bike is a great way to get to a nearby park trail.


What transit systems and municipalities can do to increase ridership


  • Promote using a bike with transit: The power of suggestion goes a long way. In Philadelphia, SEPTA places stickers on the outside of regional rail cars that say bicycles are welcome.


  • Add bike racks on buses: Transit systems with successful bike rack programs install bike racks on all vehicles. There is no excuse not to, really. 95% of the cost can be covered through federal funds. Sportworks makes the bike rack of choice. Having never used a rack on a bus before, a cyclist can put a bike onto a sportworks rack in about 15 seconds. The racks fold up so that they extend only 4" infront of the bus without bikes.


  • Welcome bikes on rail cars: It's not just enough to permit bicycles (Bicycle permits keep cyclists off trains). Bicycles should be welcomed, and there should be information about bicycle policies placed in schedules. Caltrain, a train that heads south from San Francisico, has room for 40 bicycles per train. The New York City Subway, which can be quite crowded, permits bikes on board 24 hours a day.


  • Install bike parking at all stops: In Europe and Asia, transit systems increase their ridership by having observed bicycle parking at rail stations that rents for $18 a month or $.75 a day and often has a bicycle repair shop. Bike racks, covered bike parking, and bike lockers are very important as well. In Delaware, a cyclist can use a bike locker after paying only the refundable key deposit.


  • Regional bike plans: Transit systems can work with municipalities to make transit an integral part of the bicycle planning process. If it appears dangerous to walk or bike to a train station or bus stop, fewer people will use transit.



References and Resources for More Information


Alta Planning + Design (2005), Caltrans Pedestrian and Bicycle Facilities Technical Reference Guide: A Technical Reference and Technology Transfer Synthesis for Caltrans Planners and Engineers, California Department of Transportation (


Troels Andersen, et al. (2012), Collection of Cycle Concepts, Cycling Embassy of Denmark (; at


Tilman Bracher (2000), “Demand Characteristics & Co-operation Strategies for the Bicycle & Railway Transport Chain,” World Transport Policy and Practice, Vol. 6, No. 4 (, pp. 18-24.


Bike On Transit Database (


Allison L. C. de Cerreño and My Linh H. Nguyen-Novotny (2006), Pedestrian and Bicyclist Standards and Innovations in Large Central Cities, Rudin Center for Transportation Policy & Management (; at


Robert Cervero, Benjamin Caldwell, Jesus Cuellar (2013), “Bike-and-Ride: Build It and They Will Come,” Journal of Public Transportation, Vol. 16, No. 4, pp. 83-106; at


Bradley Flamm and Charles Rivasplata (2014), Perceptions of Bicycle-Friendly Policy Impacts on Accessibility to Transit Services:  The First and Last Mile Bridge, Report 12-10, Mineta Transportation Institute (; at


FTA (1999), Bicycles & Transit; A Partnership That Works, Federal Transit Administration (; at


Joey M. Goldman and Gail Murray (2011), Strollers, Carts, and Other Large Items on Buses and Trains: A Synthesis of Transit Practice, Synthesis 88, Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP), TRB (; at


Kevin J. Krizek, Eric Stonebraker and Seth Tribbey (2011), Bicycling Access And Egress To Transit: Informing The Possibilities, Mineta Transportation Institute (; at


Todd Litman (2013), Evaluating Active Transport Benefits and Costs: Guide to Valuing Walking and Cycling Improvements and Encouragement Programs, Victoria Transport Policy Institute (; at; originally published as “Bicycling and Transportation Demand Management,” Transportation Research Record 1441, 1994, pp. 134-140.


Karel Martens (2007), “Promoting Bike-and-Ride: The Dutch Experience,” Transportation Research, Vol. 41, Issue 4 (, May 2007, pp. 326-338.


Nathan McNeil, et al. (2018), Manual on Pedestrian and Bicycle Connections to Transit, Federal Transit Administration (; at


NACTO (2012), Urban Bikeway Design Guide, National Association of City Transportation Officials (; at


John Pucher and Ralph Buehler (2009), “Integrating Bicycling and Public Transport in North America,” Journal of Public Transportation, Vol. 12, No. 3 (, pp. 101-126; at


John Pucher, Jennifer Dill and Susan Handy (2010), “Infrastructure, Programs and Policies To Increase Bicycling: An International Review,” Preventive Medicine, Vol. 48, No. 2, February; prepared for the Active Living By Design Program (; at


John Pucher and Ralph Buehler (2011), Analysis of Bicycle Trends and Policies in Large North American Cities: Lessons For New York, University Transportation Research Center; at; summary at


Michael Replogle and Harriet Purcells (1992), Linking Bicycle/Pedestrian Facilities with Transit, National Bicycle and Walking Study, Case Study No. 9, FHWA, (; at


Robert Schneider (2005), Integration of Bicycles and Transit: A Synthesis of Transit Practice, Transit Cooperative Research Program (TCRP) Synthesis 62, Transportation Research Board (; at


Hartmut H. Topp (2008), “Can MeetBike Replace the Car?,” World Transport Policy & Practice  (, Volume 14, Number 3, pp. 24-31; at


USEPA (1998), Bicycle and Pedestrian Programs, Transportation and Air Quality TCM Technical Overviews, US Environmental Protection Agency (


Rui Wang and Chen Liu (2013), “Bicycle-Transit Integration in the United States, 2001–2009,” Journal of Public Transportation, Vol. 16, No. 3, pp. 95-119; at


M. Wedderburn (2013), Improving The Cost-Benefit Analysis Of Integrated PT, Walking And Cycling, Research Report 537, NZ Transport Agency (; at

This Encyclopedia is produced by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute to help improve understanding of Transportation Demand Management. It is an ongoing project. Please send us your comments and suggestions for improvement.




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