Walkable Station Spacing Is Key to Successful, Equitable Bike Share

Bike share use increases exponentially with station density, according to a new NACTO analysis of U.S. bike share system data, released today. Systems that are designed with stations a five minute walk apart provide more convenient, reliable service and are used much more frequently than systems with more far-flung stations. To increase ridership among low-income populations, bike share systems must be designed to offer a meaningful transportation option. As cities seek to build successful, equitable bike share systems, NACTO finds that high station density – approximately 28 stations per square mile – and even station spacing is key.

NACTO’s Walkable Station Spacing is Key to Successful, Equitable Bike Share makes the connection between station density, service quality and equity, and provides a data-driven analysis for system operators looking to expand the reach and utility of their bike share systems. Looking at ridership data from a variety of U.S. bike share systems, NACTO finds that the utility of a bike share system, as well as ridership, increase exponentially when stations are closer together. Data analyzed from bike share member surveys clearly shows that convenience is the reason why people use bike share and station placement must be guided by the distance people are willing to walk to find a bike. Equitable bike share requires close, even station spacing – a station every 1,000 feet – in order to create a convenient network of stations that allows people to make the trips they want to make.