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Factors influencing bikeshare service and usage in a rural college town: A case study of Montgomery County, VA

  • Woodson, Cat
  • Ashqar, Huthaifa I.
  • Almannaa, Mohammed
  • Elhenawy, Mohammed
  • Buehler, Ralph
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2024
Queensland University of Technology ePrints Archive


<p>While much of the bikeshare boom has centered around larger cities, smaller, lower-density, and even some rural communities have also implemented bikeshare systems successfully. Using a bikeshare dataset of more than 14,000 trips that cover the period from July 2018 to December 2021 for both pedal and e-bikes, this paper describes the structure and performance of ROAM NRV, a bikeshare system in Montgomery County, Virginia—which is home to Virginia Tech university and has many areas classified as rural. The paper presents bikeshare users’ travel behaviors and usage trends (including during the COVID-19 pandemic). Moreover, compares the usage of the system’s pedal bicycles to electric bicycles (e-bikes) that were introduced in 2021. Findings indicated that residents of Blacksburg and Christiansburg regularly use and benefit from bikeshare much like their urban counterparts do. Ridership was noted to likely be more common among university affiliates with trips more likely to start/end on or around campus due to the number of stations located within campus grounds. Trail usage was also high among bikeshare users due to the extensive trail network within and between the towns. As rural bikeshare users tend to travel greater distances and encounter more varying terrains throughout their commutes, considering e-bikes instead of pedal bike systems should increase the utilization of such mobility systems in rural areas. When electric assist bicycles were first introduced to the system, initially replacing some and then all former pedal bicycles, utilization increased significantly compared to pedal bike usage.</p>

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