Bicycling and public transit (including bus, rail, ferry, and even air transport) work well together. Transit is effective for moderate- and long-distance trips along busy corridors, while cycling is effective for shorter-distance trips with multiple stops. Integrating transit and cycling can provide a high level of mobility. The combination of cycling and public transit often replaces trips that could otherwise only be made by automobile. It also allows cyclists to pass major barriers, such as tunnels or freeways where cycling is prohibited, or particularly difficult.
Bike-and-ride facilities can increase the efficiency of public transit services by expanding the catchment area. A transit stop normally draws pedestrians within a 10-minute walk, or 400 meters. Cyclists can cover three to four times the distance in the same time, increasing the catchment area by about ten-fold. Bicycling can also benefit drivers using park-and-ride facilities by freeing up vehicle spaces. Bicycle and transit integration has proven successful in attracting new riders. For example, 30% of users of Vancouver’s bike lockers at a transit station had not previously used public transit to commute.47 One step to achieving this objective is to provide bike parking at transit stops and terminals. A high level of security (Type I bike storage) is required by many commuters, for storing a bicycle at inter-city bus or ferry terminals. Some cyclists may only require Type II bike storage (simple racks), particularly in areas with minimal security problems. Table 9 shows typical costs for bicycle and automobile parking.
Table 9 Park-and-Ride and Bike-and-Ride Facility Comparison48
Another approach is to accommodate bicycles on transit vehicles. This allows a bicycle to be used at both ends of the journey, and provides an option when cyclist cannot ride due to a mechanical failure, changes in weather, or other any other reason. Many public transit agencies have installed special racks to carry bicycles on buses, or have policies that allow bicycles to be carried as luggage or within vehicles during off-peak periods.
Transit and Bicycle Integration
Bicycles & Transit; A Partnership That Works, Federal Transit Administration (www.fta.doc.gov).
Bike Racks On All Metro Buses (http://transit.metrokc.gov/bike/bikeride.html). Describes bike rack program in Seattle area.
Michelle DeRobertis and Rhonda Rae, “Buses and Bicycles: Design Alternatives for Sharing the Road,” ITE Journal, Vol. 71, No. 5 (www.ite.org), May 2001, pp. 36-44.
Planning and Marketing Division, Bicycle Locker Demonstration Program, BC Transit (Vancouver), 1992.
Michael Replogle and Harriet Purcells, Linking Bicycle/Pedestrian Facilities with Transit, National Bicycle and Walking Study, Case Study No. 9, FHWA, (Washington DC; www.bikefed.org), 1992.
Steve Spindler and John Boyle, “Bikes on Transit” (www.bikemap.com/trans.html), 1999. Website lists transit agencies that accommodate bicycling.
“Taking Bikes on Bay Area Transit” (www.transitinfo.org/Bikes/bike.html), 1999. Website provides information on the requirements and rules for carrying bicycles on transit vehicles by various San Francisco Bay area transit agencies.
Transit Cooperative Research Program TCRP Synthesis 4, Integration of Bicycles and Transit, Transportation Research Board (www4.nationalacademies.org/trb/homepage.nsf), 1994.
Toronto Transit Commission (1994) TTC Bike and Ride Study Final Report, Toronto, Ontario.
Roadway Maintenance for Cyclists
Since most cycling occurs on public roads, roadway maintenance is an important part of accommodating cycling. Below are some types of targeted maintenance.49
Surface Repairs – Inspect bikeways and road shoulders regularly for surface irregularities, such as potholes, pavement gaps or ridges. Such hazards should be repaired quickly.
Sweeping - Establish a sweeping schedule. Sweeping road shoulders of accumulated sand and gravel in the springtime, and fallen leaves in the autumn where they accumulate. Sweepings should be picked up rather than just pushed aside in areas with curbs. Driveway approaches may be paved to reduce loose gravel on paved roadway shoulders.
Pavement Overlays – Where new pavement is installed, extend the overlay to the edge of the roadway. If this is not possible, ensure that no ridge remains at the edge of the road shoulder or bike lane. Do not leave a ridge within the bike travel area. Drain grates should be within 6 millimetres of the pavement height to create a smooth travel surface. Special attention should be given to ensure that utility covers and other road hardware are flush with new pavement.
Rail Crossings – Rail crossings can be hazardous to cyclists, particularly if they are at an oblique angle. Warning signs and extra space at the road shoulder can allow cyclists to cross at a 90º angle. A special smooth concrete apron or rubber flange may be justified at some crossings.
Vegetation – Vegetation may impede sight lines, or roots may break up the travel surface. Vegetation should be cut back to ensure adequate sight lines, and invasive tree roots may be cut back to preserve the travel surface.
Street Markings – bike lane markings signal loop indicators may become hard to see over time. These should be inspected regularly and retraced when necessary.
Snow removal – Road plowing should extend into the lane space used by cyclists. Spot salting intersections often creates a hazardous icy patch just past the melted intersection. Trails that get significant winter cycling should be plowed unless they are relegated to ski/snowshoe users.
Roadway Markings – Whenever roadway markings are used, traction or non-skid paint should be used to avoid the markings becoming slippery in wet weather.