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Changes in access to public transportation for cycle–transit users in response to service reductions

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Abstract

North American transit agencies have made large investments since the late 1990s in the coordination of bicycling and public transit services. A key goal in doing so has been to increase transit ridership by extending the geographic area from which riders can easily and quickly reach transit stops and stations. While it is widely hypothesized that being able to travel on transit vehicles with bicycles allows riders to access transit stops and stations from a larger geographic area, the empirical evidence of this is scanty. Information available for Northeast Ohio, where the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) operates rail, bus and demand response transit, presents an opportunity to address an important aspect of this issue. The availability of detailed long-term bicycle-on-bus boardings (BoBBs) data and the implementation of a series of service reductions in 2008, 2009 and 2010 offer an opportunity to ask the question: Do significant changes in geographic access to transit services result in significant changes to the numbers of cycle–transit users accessing transit buses? The evidence from GCRTA׳s service area provides some support for this conclusion, with the rates of utilization of bus bicycle racks increasing significantly over time and in slightly higher numbers for routes that saw the largest reductions in bus transit service.

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