Do new bike share stations increase member use: A quasi-experimental study

Jueyu Wang, Greg H Lindsey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


As the number of bike share programs across the world has grown, studies of bike programs and operations have proliferated. Most empirical studies of bike share demand have included analyses of station use while a limited number of studies have investigated member behavior. Moreover, a limitation of this research is that the most research designs have been cross-sectional and therefore unable to establish causality. To address this limitation, we employ a quasi-experimental, difference-in-difference modeling approach using a six-year panel data set of members’ bike share trips from 2010 to 2015 in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota. This research design takes advantage of changes in the bike share network over time to establish treatment and control groups and test the significance of effects of changes in accessibility on the frequency of individual member's use of bike share. Improvements in accessibility are measured as a reduction in distance to stations resulting from placement of new stations or relocation of old stations. We find a significant negative impact of distance on the frequency of use and that the effects of increasing bike share accessibility are larger in areas with denser bike share services. Specifically, members for whom access improved (i.e., distance decreased) were significantly more likely to increase the frequency of use than members for whom access remained the same. Moreover, by developing different models, we show the effects of distance are heterogeneous and vary with different built environment contexts. Members who live in areas with higher population density and a higher percentage of retail land use tended to increase their bike share use more. Our results indicate that improvements in physical accessibility may not result in practically meaningful changes in the frequency of use in all cases and imply that multi-faceted strategies for increasing use may be needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
StatePublished - Mar 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge financial support from NSF Sustainability Research Networks (award 1444745 ): “Integrated Urban Infrastructure Solutions for Environmentally Sustainable, Healthy, and Livable Cities.” The authors also thank the operators of Nice Ride MN for making their ridership data available, and Mr. Mitch Vars to provide us the Nice Ride Member data.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


  • Annual members
  • Bike share user behavior
  • Difference in difference models
  • Natural experiment


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