A study of connected bike share systems in five cities shows these systems can reduce vehicle miles traveled (VMT) to improve congestion and reduce emissions.

Modeling effort of bike share systems found they may decrease VMT by as much as 632,000 km per year per city.

London; England

Summary Information

As the world becomes increasingly urbanized and traffic congestion gets worse every year, cities around the world have begun to invest in alternative transportation systems such as bike sharing systems. One of the central hopes of planners and policy makers is that these bike share systems function as a practical transportation option for people. If bike sharing can serve as a practical transportation option, then such systems may decrease automobile usage and hence improve air quality, reduce congestion, and improve urban quality of life.


To help assess the potential of bike share systems to decrease automobile usage, researchers at the University of Queensland in Queensland, Australia gathered data from bike share systems in Melbourne, Australia, Brisbane, Australia, Washington, D.C., London, United Kingdom, and Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. Specifically, the research team collected complete data sets for all bike share trips taken in the five cities in 2012. They then surveyed bike share users in each of the five cities to gather data on potential mode substitution between bike sharing and other modes of transport. The research team then used these data to model the potential for bike share systems to decrease car use.


Estimates suggested that bike share systems can decrease VMT by as much as 632,841 km per year resulting in reduced congestion and fewer emissions from passenger vehicles. Researchers noted that realized impacts can depend heavily on the substitution rate of bike trips for auto trips.

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Bike Share’s Impact on Car Use: Evidence from the United States, Great Britain, and Australia

Author: Fishman, Elliot; Simon Washington; and Narelle Haworth

Published By: Transportation Research Part D: Transport and Environment

Source Date: 08/01/2014

Other Reference Number: Vol. 31: 13–20



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Typical Deployment Locations

Metropolitan Areas, Statewide


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Benefit ID: 2020-01450