Transit Access:

A two-bike, front-mounted bus rack is the most commonly used rack. The driver can see bicyclists mounting their bikes. (Phoenix, AZ)

Photo by Dan Burden

Photo from Peter Tannen
view image

In cities that have bus, light rail or subway service, making these services bicycle-friendly can greatly expand options for bicyclists, allowing them to commute longer distances while also reducing car traffic to and from commuter stations. For buses, the most frequent option is an exterior rack mounted on the front of the bus that can accommodate two bicycles; however, other options exist, including interior bike racks or simply allowing bicyclists to bring their bike onboard an unequipped bus when conditions are not crowded.

For rail transit, selected cars are generally equipped with interior bike racks, with the number of racks dependent on demand. During off-peak travel times and on weekends, bikes may be allowed on all cars. Each transit system sets its own policies and rules. In most cases, no additional fee is charged to carry a bike on board.

While somewhat dated, the Web site contains a listing of all locations in the U.S. where bikes are accommodated on transit, either on intercity rail, intercity bus, local transit, or ferries (see ). The site also offers a discussion of why bikes should be linked with transit and offers examples of bikes on transit solutions. In the future, the developer of the site hopes to offer a searchable database where one can type in a location and find information on available bike and transit options.1

According to information on the Web site, the two most active regions of the country for providing bike access to transit are the West Coast states (California, Oregon and Washington), and the Northeast corridor, especially along the Atlantic coast from eastern Virginia to southern Maine. Many cities and local planning authorities have excellent Web sites providing information on available services, maps, hours of operation, fares, etc. A good example is the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) in California (see

It should be noted that even if bike access on transit (rail or subway) is not an option, transit can still support bicycling by providing lockers or other secure parking at transit stations, as well as providing safe routes to the transit station from nearby residences and destinations.

A good resource on this topic is the Online TDM [Transportation Demand Management] Encyclopedia, maintained by the Victoria Transport Policy Institute (see The chapter on bike/transit integration discusses bikes on transit, bicycle parking at transit stops, bicycle access to transit stations, bikes on taxis, and bicycle rentals. It also summarizes available data on how integration of bikes with transit has promoted transit use and provides information with respect to costs and benefits. Another resource is the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center ( Transit Cooperative Research Program Synthesis 62, Integration of Bicycles and Transit, is also available online at


  • This strategy promotes bicycling by greatly expanding the range of accessible destinations.
  • It also promotes transit use, by expanding options for accessing and using transit.

top of page


  • Successful integration of bikes and transit requires a comprehensive approach that begins with an assessment of needs.
  • In addition to providing direct access to transit (e.g., via bike racks on buses or in trains), consideration should be given to improving safe and convenient bike access to transit locations and providing secure bike parking facilities at all transit locations.
  • Although liability is always a potential concern, at this point there is sufficient accumulated experience and sufficient product safety evidence that it should not be a deterrent to providing bike access on transit.

top of page

Estimated Cost

The TDM Encyclopedia notes that bicycle racks suitable for buses typically cost $500 to $1,000 for a high-quality model that can carry two bicycles. The Nashua, NH, transit plan developed in December 2003 included an estimate of $1,000 per bike rack, installed.

top of page

Case Studies

top of page