Traditionally the lockers would be operated by keys, but Hartger said some agencies are now looking to ways to automate the lockers and allow users to give payment information via the Web to improve access and make it easier for people to use.
“Bike racks cost $100 to park a bike while a quality bike locker can cost 10 times that each, but to park a car you’re talking $40,000 to $50,000 to $60,000 per space,” Hartger said. “The majority of parking garages are all paid for with government bonds so when you look at the cost of bicycle parking it’s really a good deal for a community compared to what they pay for parking a car.”
Set it and forget it
Jeff Olson, R.A., principal at Alta Planning & Design, and Alta Bicycle Share, said cities are starting to realize how important first and last mile trips are in connecting people with transit and the community, so planners are increasingly looking for ways to increase the connectivity. Alta is the operator of the recently launched Citi Bike in New York City, which has become the largest bike-sharing program in the country, which Olson said could have a major impact in how residents and tourists get around there. However, first and last mile trips are becoming increasingly important in suburban and rural areas as well.
“One example of what happens all too often is when kids go to school in suburban or rural communities and then they’re driven to the end of the driveway or the road and then sitting there in an idling car,” Olson said. “But really if you think about it, that’s a first and last mile trip.”
The implementation of a bike share program in the Washington, D.C., area has made transit a more attractive option for residents.
According to a recent survey of members of Capital Bike Share, more than half of surveyed bike share members used a bicycle to access Metrorail, while 23 percent used it to access a bus stop and 9 percent used it to access commuter rail. Lori Duggins, principal with LDA Consulting said one respondent noted the ability to use a bike as a one-way access to transit made a 10-minute walk into a 90-second ride to transit.
“It made transit more attractive because it removed one of the disadvantages of transit,” she said.
Capital Bike Share is having a significant impact on traffic and congestion in that region. According to the results of a recent survey of the bike share, 26 percent of those surveyed reduced their car traveled miles by an average of 198 miles. With the reduction, it meant a reduction of 4.4 million miles by bike share members.
While bike sharing is making it easier for some to access transit where it’s not readily available, survey results showed there was a measurable impact on the amount of bike users who had reduced their transit usage.
About 21 percent of bike share respondents said they had “much less” use of Metrorail, 19 percent said they had much less use of the bus, while 30 percent reduced the amount of time they drove and 31 percent reduced taxi usage.
Five percent said they sold their car and another 7 percent said they were considering getting rid of their car, with 75 percent of those who at least considering getting rid of their car said it was due to the bike share.
The use of bike share did make it more comfortable for members to use transit, Diggins said, as respondents said they enjoyed having a one-way access to a transit station without having to worry about leaving their property behind.
“It does give us additional opportunities for transit agencies,” she said.
Olson said connecting people to transit with first and last mile modes of transportation extends well beyond infrastructure needs of a city because educational programs need to be put in place to change lifestyles.
“I think the real game changer has been bike sharing,” Olson said. “We just launched in New York City and we’ve had bike sharing in Boston and Washington, D.C., and the success has just been incredible, with Washington having more than 4 million trips alone since it started. It’s really an exciting thing in transportation because it compliments transit in a lot of ways because it not only provides first and last mile trips, it provides access to service in areas underserved by transit, so we’re seeing one of the great success stories right now.”