Do metro interruptions increase the demand for public rental bicycles? Evidence from Paris

Joris Klingen

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Urban policy makers are increasingly interested in cycling as part of a sustainable and reliable transport network. One of the ways through which cities promote cycling is by providing a public bicycle system (PBS) with electronic docking stations. This paper studies demand for public rental bicycles following local and temporary metro interruptions in Paris. I construct a unique data set by linking metro interruptions announced in Twitter communication by the Parisian metro operator to usage data on the Vélib’ PBS. I find that, as a direct consequence of a metro interruption, the consumption of bicycles within 100 m of metro stations increases by 0.72 bicycles per hour per docking station on average, and with 1.54 bicycles per hour per docking station during the first 20 min; an increase of approximately 11% and 22% respectively. Due to their effects on demand, metro interruptions increase the probability of empty stocks at docking stations with 15%. The findings highlight that cycling is a local net substitute for metro service, and that public rental bicycles can alleviate time losses stemming from interruptions in public transport.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-228
Number of pages13
JournalTransportation Research Part A: Policy and Practice
Early online date23 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


  • Bicycle-sharing
  • Cycling
  • Demand analysis
  • Public bicycle systems
  • Public transport
  • Transport network resilience


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