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Bicycle Infrastructure and Traffic Congestion: Evidence from DCs Capital Bikeshare

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Abstract: We explore the impact of bicycle-sharing infrastructure on urban transportation. Accounting for selection bias in a matching framework, we estimate a causal effect of the Capital Bikeshare on traffic congestion in the metropolitan Washington, DC, area. We exploit a unique traffic dataset that is finely defined on a spatial and temporal scale. Our approach examines within-city commuting decisions as opposed to traffic patterns on major thruways. Empirical results suggest that the availability of a bikeshare reduces traffic congestion by 2 to 3 within a neighborhood. We also identify geographic spillovers that may counteract benefits from reductions in local pollution.

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