Going the Last Mile by Bike

4410095426_9ab8bc795b.jpgThis newer style bike rack on AC Transit in Oakland, California, can carry three bikes rather than two. (Photo: AC Transit.org via Flickr)

There’s a great discussion going on over at Jarrett Walker’s Human Transit blog about how to integrate cycling with transit to solve the persistent "last mile" problem. It’s one of the biggest barriers to transit use — the final mile or so between the bus or train stop and your destination. And it’s a perfect distance to cover on a bicycle.

Here’s how Walker frames the issue:

As a transit planner, I’m excited by the potential to dramatically expand the reach of transit networks through the use of cycling — especially in lower-density areas where adequate local bus service is rarely viable. There are three broad parts to the problem:

  • Getting to the station: Local access paths and navigation.
  • Taking bikes on board rapid transit.
  • Bicycle parking at stations.

Transit agencies should care about this, because a sufficient uptake of local cycling could substantially reduce the demand for local all-day buses services in low-density areas — typically the least efficient services a transit agency runs, in terms of cost per passenger. 

The post has generated a bunch of thoughtful and educated comments about a variety of solutions: bike parking; bike share; bike capacity on buses and trains; folding bikes; cycling paths that encourage the proverbial "60-year old woman with two bags of groceries" (the Dutch standard, apparently).

If you care about "the last mile" — and we know you do! — head on over to Human Transit and check it out.

More from around the network: Bike Portland writes about how some truckers still like US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood, despite recent coverage that would suggest otherwise. The Overhead Wire looks at plans to create dense, walkable development around the Dallas Cowboys stadium in Irving, Texas. And Straight Outta Suburbia/Saliendo de las Afueras asks transit riders to clean up their language — for their own sake.