To Encourage Multimodal Trips:
The federal government, originally through ISTEA, (Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991), “encourages states and metropolitan areas to develop innovative transportation plans and programs which better integrate public transit, bicycle facilities, and other modes of travel into the existing transportation system. The goal of this multimodal planning is to provide travelers with a real choice of travel options.” (Federal Transit Administration, Bicycles and Transit, A Partnership that Works, 1999). Adding bike racks on buses, does exactly that; provides people with real transportation options by allowing a bicycle trip to be incorporated with a public transit one. Through this incorporation, the bicycle and the public transit vehicle create seamless opportunities for a person with a bike and a bus fare!
To Contribute to Cleaner Air and More Livable Communities:
“In many areas, increased investment in transit and bicycle facilities can help meet goals for cleaner, healthier air; less congested roadways; and more livable communities. Used individually, bicycling and transit provide low-cost mobility and place fewer demands on local roads and highways to carry everyday trips. Used in combination, bicycles and public transportation provide millions of Americans with enhanced access to work, shopping, services and family and friends.” (Federal Transit Administration, Bicycles and Transit, A Partnership that Works, 1999). The bike – bus combination not only provides more mobility options to everyone, but also fewer automobiles on the street results in quieter and safer neighborhoods.
To Expand Ridership:
“Studies show that people are most likely to use public transit when it’s within a quarter mile walking distance or when it’s within a three mile biking distance. Making it easier for bike riders to take their vehicles along on public transit opens up a 12 times larger drawing zone for riders.” (Passenger Transport, November 16, 1992). Not to mention, bicyclists often fill a gap in the weekend or off-peak market, when transit ridership is typically lower.
To Improve Bicycle Access:
Many commuters and recreational bicycle riders are constrained by bridges, tunnels, dramatic hills and unsafe city streets. Adding a bus bicycle rack into the public transit equation creates more options to overcome geographical barriers, thus creating more opportunities for a cyclist to ride and use the bus. Rail stations, businesses and overall communities are continuing to get more bicycle friendly, and it makes good proactive sense to extrapolate this out into the public transit realm.
To Promote Good Public Relations:
Adding bicycle racks onto buses is one of the only value-added services a public transit authority can provide to its riders. These high profile programs market themselves. When the community views bikes being carried on the front of buses, it not only gives a direct message about new transit options, but also sends a positive environmental image of the public service. Statistics show that cyclists have both outspoken advocate voices and are consistent voters! Not bad, considering that the product is less expensive than a bus tire!
To Create Working Partnerships:
As federal transportation spending now incorporates bicycles, a new trend is growing and ultimately embracing a new partnership – one between bicycles and public transportation. The importance of strengthening the connections between bicycling and public transit is, as Federal Transit Administrator, Gordon J. Linton, says, “a win-win proposition.” This partnership addresses our concern about traffic congestion, air quality, and limited resources. The federal transportation bill requires that this partnership be addressed at the planning level, where multimodal concerns must be taken into consideration. This is resulting in a viable partnership between the bicycling community and public transit authority. Further, grant monies under the federal transportation bill are widely available for bike-onbus projects, including up to a 95% match under the Transit Enhancements Program.