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Assessing the Effects of Weather on Bike Share Usage in Philadelphia

Watts, Alex (2023) Assessing the Effects of Weather on Bike Share Usage in Philadelphia. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Physical inactivity and pollution from motor vehicle emissions are major public health risks in the 21st century. One potential way of addressing both of these issues is shifting transportation needs from cars to bicycles. Bike shares offer cities and other organizations an opportunity to provide convenient, affordable access to bicycles. While these systems can improve access to active transportation, there is a large body of evidence that suggests weather may pose a barrier to people using bikes for more trips. Past work looking at the bike share system in Washington, D.C. found that riders reduce the number and duration of bicycle trips in colder, wetter conditions. However, this does not necessarily apply to Philadelphia, as rider responses to weather can vary a great deal between cities. In this thesis, I used negative binomial regression and linear regression with a log-transformed outcome to estimate the effects of various weather conditions on the number and duration of rides in Philadelphia’s Indego bike share system. To fit these models, I used data from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2022 for 5,280,976 rides obtained from Indego’s website and historical weather data for 61,362 hours obtained from Visual Crossing. As a secondary analysis, I partitioned the data into the group of rides taken by riders with a monthly or yearly pass and the group of rides taken by the rest of the riders. Both ride counts and mean duration generally increased with temperature and decreased with the introduction of precipitation. The group of monthly and yearly passholders showed a diminished response to both of these compared to riders overall. This suggests that weather may pose a barrier to the use of bike share as a form of transportation, and public health officials and transportation planners may be able to alleviate this by expanding long-term memberships. Shifting trips from personal vehicles to bicycles and bike share is crucial to reducing pollution from motor vehicle emissions and increasing physical activity.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Watts, Alexalw269@pitt.edualw2690000-0002-3924-1341
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBuchanich, Jeaninejeanine@pitt.edujeanine0000-0003-4658-3654
Committee MemberCarlson, Jennajnc35@pitt.edujnc350000-0001-5483-0833
Committee MemberStevanovic, Aleksandarstevanovic@pitt.edustevanovic0000-0003-1091-3340
Date: 11 May 2023
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 24 April 2023
Approval Date: 11 May 2023
Submission Date: 28 April 2023
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 155
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Public Health > Biostatistics
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Negative Binomial Regression, Linear Regression, Bike Share, Weather
Date Deposited: 11 May 2023 16:47
Last Modified: 11 May 2023 16:47


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