Analysis of the effect of multi-level urban form on bikeshare demand: Evidence from seven large metropolitan areas in the United States


  • Arefeh Nasri University of Maryland, College Park
  • Hannah Younes University of Maryland, College Park
  • Lei Zhang University of Maryland, College Park



Bikeshare, Urban Form, Multi-level Built Environment, Demand Analysis, Travel Behavior, Mixed Effect Modeling


Bikeshare programs in their current form have been in place for several years in many cities across the United States. Encouraging people to use bikeshare for their daily routine travel has numerous social, economic, environmental, and health benefits. Therefore, it is important to understand factors influencing bikeshare use in different urban areas to improve the system and encourage more use. This paper investigates how the built environment at both local and regional scales influences bikeshare use in seven large metropolitan areas in the U.S. The study areas include Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Minneapolis, San Francisco, San Jose, and Washington, D.C., and the data consists of about 12 million bike trips from approximately 2,000 stations over a one-year period. In addition to linear regression models built for each individual city for comparison purposes, a multi-level mixed effect regression model is built to predict the number of trips originated from each station with respect to the local and regional built environment pattern. The results are consistent with previous research on the effect of land use at the local level on bikeshare demand and show that residential density, regional diversity, pedestrian-oriented road network density, and job accessibility via transit all have a significant positive effect on bikeshare demand. At the regional level, results suggest that the overall level of mixed-use development and overall bike-friendliness in the region (i.e., exclusive bike routes, right-of-way, and bike facilities) and higher congestion level in the region are significant factors influencing bikeshare activities and demand. Models developed in this study could be applied to other communities that are seeking to improve and/or expand their bikeshare systems, as well as cities planning to launch new bikeshare programs.


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How to Cite

Nasri, A., Younes, H., & Zhang, L. (2020). Analysis of the effect of multi-level urban form on bikeshare demand: Evidence from seven large metropolitan areas in the United States. Journal of Transport and Land Use, 13(1), 389–408.