Businesses are benefiting from the presence of nearby Capital Bikeshare stations in Washington, according to a survey conducted by a planning expert.
When researchers try to measure whether bike share docks bring more customers into a neighborhood, they have to figure out whether those people would have walked, driven, or taken transit there anyway. That is the question professor Ralph Buehler, an associate professor of urban affairs and planning at Virginia Tech’s Alexandria Center, asked 333 bike share users as they parked their bikes at five stations in Georgetown, Logan Circle, Adams Morgan, H Street NE, and Dupont Circle.
“Sixteen percent said they would not have come without Capital Bikeshare there,” said Buehler in an interview with WAMU 88.5. “Out of the 16 percent, we then asked them what they would have done instead. And 19 percent of those said they would have stayed at home. Eighty-one percent would have spent their money somewhere else.”
So Buehler concludes that a small but significant percentage of Capital Bikeshare users are spending their money at nearby businesses as a direct result of the bike ride to the neighborhood where they dock the bike.
He also surveyed 140 businesses. “They really couldn't put their finger on it completely, but they had a general positive perception of Capital Bikeshare on their customer traffic, on their sales, and on the neighborhood,” he said.
Buehler performs research for Arlington-based Mobility Lab, a group that studies and advocates non-car transportation. His other key findings can be seen here.