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Hail a cab or ride a bike? A travel time comparison of taxi and bicycle-sharing systems in New York City

Ahmadreza Faghih-Imani, Sabreena Anowar, Eric J. Miller and Naveen Eluru

Transportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice, 2017, vol. 101, issue C, 11-21

Abstract: In this paper, we examine the hypothesis that bicycles can compete with cars in terms of travel time in dense urban areas. We conduct a detailed investigation of the differences in observed travel times by taxi and a bicycle-sharing system (BSS) in New York City in 2014. The taxi trips with origins and destinations in proximity to BSS stations are identified and compared to BSS trips from the same origin and destinations. The travel time comparison is conducted along following dimensions: (a) all trips, (b) temporal dimension including different time periods of the day, weekday versus weekend, and seasonal variation, and (c) distance categories. It is found that during weekdays’ AM, Midday and PM time periods for more than half of OD pairs with distance less than 3km, BSS is either faster or competitive with taxi mode. To further shed light on the travel time comparison, we develop a multivariate analysis using a random utility framework in the form of a panel mixed multinomial logit model. Identifying and understanding the factors that influence the travel time differences can help planners to enhance the BSS service offerings. The provision of information to bicycling-inclined individuals on the “faster” alternative could be used as a marketing tool to attract higher usage for BSS within dense urban cores. The comparison of BSS and taxi can also shed light on the competition between bicycle and car modes in general in dense urban areas.

Keywords: Bicycle sharing systems; CitiBike New York; Taxi; Travel time; Panel mixed multinomial logit model (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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DOI: 10.1016/j.tra.2017.05.006

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