MasterCard data used to show bike-sharing schemes boost business

Credit-card data shows "bikenomics" in action.
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A new study using sales data from MasterCard appears to show "bikenomics" in action. Bikenomics is the theory that making towns and cities more cycle-friendly is good for the local and national economies. Researchers at a Brooklyn university found higher-takings at New York restaurants in areas served by the city's bike-sharing programme.

Stanislav Sobolevsky and Constantine E. Kontokosta of New York University’s Center for Urban Science + Progress used anonymized and aggregated Mastercard transaction data to research spend behaviour on food outlets near bike-sharing stations. The pair wondered whether people dropping off a bike might also drop in for a bite to eat. And the data seemed to show that they did.

Brooklyn neighbourhoods saw an increase of 0.2 to 0.5 percent improvement in food retail volumes in the years following the addition of bike-sharing stations, compared to a slight decrease or steady levels in nearby areas that didn’t have bike-sharing stations. A further and deeper analysis in Jersey City showed a bump in sales growth closer to 4 percent versus a neighbourhood without bike-sharing stations. 

The Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth provided the data through the Mastercard Retail Location Insights programme, an interactive mapping and reporting tool designed to use sales and market data to measure the sales-based performance of retail locations.

“This is the first trustworthy source of data that can give you a real-time picture of how retail is changing over time,” said Sobolevsky.

These latest findings add to previous research that how catering to cycling leads to increased footfall for shops. For instance, in Newcastle upon Tyne a hardware store owner who had previously campaigned against the provision of cycle infrastreucture outside his shop became a supporter of such provision when footfall increased following installation of cyclist-friendly features.

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