Cities across the country have increasingly been investing in micro-mobility options that include station-based bike share systems, dockless bike share systems, electric-assist bike share, and electric scooters. Since 2010, these systems have grown from a handful of station-based bike share systems in only a few cities to over 120,000 bikes and micro-mobility devices in more than 100 cities nationwide. This evolution of micro-mobility devices shifted from station-based to non-station-based or “dockless” bike share systems in approximately 10 cities nationwide in late 2017. In 2018, some dockless bike share operators pivoted to shared electric scooters, joined by a few new scooter-only entrants to the market. Micro-mobility has evolved rapidly, and new types of devices continue to be introduced to the market every year.
Bike share ridership grew to a record 84 million trips nationwide in 2018. The majority of this ridership (74%) took place in transit-rich cities including New York, Chicago, Washington, DC, Minneapolis, and Boston. Some newer bike share systems have indicated an interest in increasing the cooperation between transit and bike sharing. LA Metro opened its own bike share system in 2016. Ford GoBike in San Francisco accepts Clipper Card, the regional transit smart card. The ridership impact of these integrations has not been studied. While public transportation is the backbone of a multimodal lifestyle, prior research on the system in Washington, DC and abroad indicated a complementary relationship between bike share and rail transit ridership. Further, micro-mobility devices like bike share and scooters have helped provide “first and last mile” connectivity to transit, further supporting a multimodal lifestyle. This symbiotic relationship means micro-mobility has the potential to both increase the number of transit trips by expanding the reach of multimodal transportation and replace transit trips.
As the micro-mobility options continue to evolve and the industry continues to expand, it has become imperative to further understand the full impacts of micro-mobility on public transportation systems, in both transit-rich markets, as well as medium and smaller urban areas.
The proposed research has four key objectives:
- Identify the impact of micro-mobility on bus and rail transit ridership.
- Identify the economic impacts of micro-mobility for the community and the transit agency.
- Identify the impacts on the built environment (i.e., bike lanes, parking spaces, etc.) of the implementation of micro-mobility.
- Identify ways to strengthen the relations between micro-mobility and transit to maximize sustainable trip modes.
The TCRP is seeking proposals on how best to achieve the research objectives. Proposers are expected to present a research plan that can realistically be accomplished within the constraints of available funds and contract time. Proposals must present the proposers' current thinking in sufficient detail to demonstrate their understanding of the issues and the soundness of their approach to meeting the research objectives.
The research plan for this study should support the four key objectives by, at a minimum, addressing the following:
- Definition, characteristics, and expected lifecycle of each shared micro-mobility devices
- Bike sharing (traditional, dockless, e-bikes)
- Micro-mobility usage
- Who is using these micro-mobility options (i.e., age, ethnicity, gender, race, socioeconomic)?
- Is there a preferred market for each micro-mobility option?
- What have been the impacts of dockless entrants on markets with already established docked-based systems?
- Discussion of impacts of micro-mobility on transit ridership
- Does micro-mobility provide a boost, reduction, or no impact on transit ridership?
- Does micro-mobility make transit more efficient or inefficient (i.e., are there examples of lines being streamlined or reduced when replaced by micro-mobility)?
- Is there cooperation or competition between modes?
- Are there different effects in communities of different sizes (e.g., small urban vs. large metropolitan) and/or cities with multiple modes of transportation?
- Explore the relationship between the transit agency and micro-mobility
- Technology integration
- Data sharing and use of data for service decisions
- Partnerships between transit agencies and micro-mobility to establish or increase system connectivity and to maximize the strengths of each mode
- Discuss the regulations and ordinances needed for the regulation of micro-mobility
- Who regulates micro-mobility?
- How do they regulate micro-mobility?
- What aspects of micro-mobility are regulated?
- What are the transit agencies’ policies related to micro-mobility?
- Explore the relationship between micro-mobility and the built environment
- Has the advent of new micro-mobility options increased the need for separated facilities for each mode?
- Has the expansion of micro-mobility helped increase the number of bicycle parking spaces?
- How have transit agencies and local jurisdictions balanced the need for increasing spaces for parking micro-mobility with accessibility needs/requirements?
- Have there been any infrastructure challenges?
- Discuss of impacts on micro-mobility on transit
- Funding and financing
- Service quality
- ADA issues
- Discuss of Equity Issues
- Discuss best practices
- Create a framework that a transit agency can follow to build relationship with micro-mobility options.
- Provide recommendations for transit agencies.
The research plan shall be divided into tasks that present, in detail, the work proposed in each task to be proposed by the research team. The research plan shall describe appropriate deliverables that include, but are not limited to, the following (which also represent key project milestones):
- An interim report (i.e., a technical memoranda or report) and panel teleconference, which occurs after the expenditure of no more than 40 percent of the project budget,
- Draft final report,
- Final report, and
- Technical memorandum, titled “Implementation of Research Findings and Products”.
The research plan may include additional deliverables as well as additional panel meetings via teleconference. The research plan shall have a schedule for the project that includes 3 weeks for panel review of the interim report, 4 weeks for panel review of the draft final report, and 3 weeks for contractor revision of the draft final report.
STATUS: Research is completed and the final deliverable is published as TCRP Research Report 230.