What are the cost considerations and funding opportunities for integrating bicycles and transit?

Costs and other considerations for bicyclists

Typically, bicycle facilities and services are provided to riders at little to no additional cost. Most bicycle parking is free, though enhanced parking, like BikeStations and bike lockers, often requires a membership and/or fee. Most transit agencies allow riders to use the bus mounted bike racks at no additional cost. Some transit agencies do require riders to obtain a permit that allows them to use the bike racks; however, many agencies that have had this policy in the past have ended it in order to increase use of the bikes on bus programs.

Other considerations for bicyclists include high demand for bicycle spaces on buses and trains and restricted hours for bicycles on trains. These considerations may have a greater impact on bicyclists who are commuting to work or those who have constrained schedules.

Costs and other considerations for transit agencies

The costs of integrating bicycles and transit can vary for transit agencies depending on the level of investment. For instance, equipping buses with bike racks can be fairly inexpensive, approximately $500 a rack (Hagelin, 2005). Secure, covered bicycle parking may require more of an investment, but compared to the provision of car parking, which can range from $10,000-$25,000 for a single surface parking space and up to $75,000 for a structured parking space, bicycle parking can be much more affordable and requires significantly less space.

Other considerations for transit agencies are potential delays in service that may arise from unloading and loading bicycles on buses, administrative costs associated with bicycles that are damaged or abandoned on bus racks, and facility maintenance for bike racks and bike parking. Additionally, transit agencies will also likely have to spend time and money marketing the new services or facilities.

Funding sources

Transit-related bicycle facilities can be funded in a variety of ways. Transit agencies may make the investment on their own or with the assistance of state and local agencies like Metropolitan Planning Organizations and state Departments of Transportation. Federal funding, such as Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality, Transit Enhancements, and Transportation Enhancements, are also available. Some municipalities have created dedicated funds, such as funding generated by tickets issued by red-light cameras, to make pedestrian and bicycle improvements in and around transit stops.

Related FAQs


Hagelin, C. (2005). A return on investment analysis of bikes-on-bus programs. Tampa, FL: National Center for Transit Research. Available at http://www.nctr.usf.edu/pdf/576-05.pdf.