Title: Sharing to Grow: Economic Activity associated with Nice Ride Bike Share Stations
Prepared by: Jessica E. Schoner, Andrew Harrison, and Xize Wang (University of Minnesota)
Date: August 31, 2012
Summary: This study examines local economic activity associated with bike sharing programs through a mixed methods investigation of the Nice Ride Minnesota bike share system. The literature on bike share systems is rapidly growing, but little information about the ways in which ridership is both influenced by the presence of businesses and influences those businesses is available. This research provides new information about economic aspects of bike share operations by (1) measuring the marginal effects of the presence of different types of businesses and job accessibility on station activity while controlling for other variables; (2) reporting the perceptions of business owners and managers about the effects of a nearby Nice Ride station on these businesses; and (3) using survey results to describe Nice Ride users’ trip making and expenditure patterns. We observed a statistically significant relationship between station trip activity and the number of food-related businesses and job accessibility within a bike share station area. Business owners and managers corroborated these findings by revealing general positive attitudes toward Nice Ride users as customers, although interviewees were ambivalent when asked if they would trade parking or sidewalk cafe space for a Nice Ride station. The user survey revealed that respondents use bike sharing to go to cafes, restaurants, grocery stores, concerts, bars, and the like, and they spend modest amounts of money on these trips. The availability of Nice Ride stations mainly supports mode shifts (e.g., people who choose to bike rather than drive or walk) but it also may induce some new trips. The principal economic effect may be the reallocation of user expenditures to businesses that are more accessible to more people because of the nearby stations.