Bike and Ride: Build It and They Will Come
Rob Cervero, Professor of City & Regional Planning; Carmel P. Friesen Chair in Urban Studies; Director, Institute of Urban & Reg
UC Transportation Center (Research Unit), Berkeley Volvo Center of Excellence on Future Urban Transportation
This paper is a study of the effects of on-site and off-site urban design and facility improvements to encourage bicycles as an alternative to cars for accessing rail stations.
Cervero and his team make the case for why a bike and ride system is preferable to a park and ride system at rail stations. In their observations, bike and ride has two main groups of benefits: it is an active form of transportation with environmental benefits. As an active form of transportation cycling promotes wellness. The environmental benefits of the bike and ride system are numerous. Bike and ride offsets the use of cars to get to a transit station. Transit stations, therefore, can decrease the amount of parking which they provide which decreases the amount of impervious cover around stations.
Looking at bike and ride stations in the Bay Area's BART system and comparing that to similar stations in Europe the researchers conclude that bicycle infrastructure at stations is critical. Providing bike infrastructure at stations should not be looked at as an "ammenity" rather it should be a basic "provision". Once bicycle infrastructure is in place the usage of bikes as a solution to the "last mile" problem of getting to transit stations increases. Also once bike facilities are available, the tendency for riders to take their bikes on public transport decreases.
The paper advocates that bikes should take a "stepped up role" in providing access to rail stations in the U.S. and looks at the BART stations of Ashby and Fruitvale as succesful examples of this practice.