Understanding the Diffusion of Public Bikesharing Systems: Evidence from Europe and North America

Authors: Stephen Parkes, Greg Mardsen, Susan Shaheen, PhD, Adam Cohen Date: July 2013 Abstract: Since the mid-2000s, public bikesharing (also known as ‘‘bike hire’’) has developed and spread into a new form of mobility in cities across the globe. This paper presents an analysis of the recent increase in the number of public bikesharing systems. Bikesharing is the shared use of a bicycle fleet, which is accessible to the public and serves as a form of public transportation. The initial system designs were pioneered in Europe and, after a series of technological innovations, appear to have matured into a system experiencing widespread adoption. There are also signs that the policy of public bikesharing systems is transferable and is being adopted in other contexts outside Europe. In public policy, the technologies that are transferred can be policies, technologies, ideals or systems. This paper seeks to describe the nature of these systems, how they have spread in time and space, how they have matured in different contexts, and why they have been adopted. Researchers provide an analysis from Europe and North America. The analysis draws on published data sources, a survey of 19 systems, and interviews with 12 decision-makers in Europe and 14 decision-makers in North America. The data are examined through the lens of diffusion theory, which allows for comparison of the adoption process in different contexts. A mixture of quantitative and qualitative analyses is used to explore the reasons for adoption decisions in different cities. The paper concludes that Europe is still in a major adoption process with new systems emerging and growth in some existing systems, although some geographic...

Bicycle Evolution in China: From the 1900s to the Present

Authors: Hua Zhang, Susan Shaheen, PhD, Xingpeng Chen Date: October 2013 Abstract: This article examines four phases in bicycle evolution in China from initial entry and slow growth (1900s to 1978), to rapid growth (1978 to 1995), bicycle use reduction (1995 to 2002), and policy diversification (2002 to present). Two bicycle innovations, electric bikes, and public bikesharing (the shared use of a bicycle fleet), are also explored in this article. Electric bikes could provide a transitional mode on the pathway to bicycle and public transportation integration or to small battery electric cars. Four lessons have been learned from China’s electric bike experience relevant to government policy and management. Public bikesharing represents an important step towards integrating the bicycle with bus, metro, and rail systems. Five early operational lessons have been identified from China’s limited public bikesharing experience. View...

Public Bikesharing in North America: Early Operator Understanding and Emerging Trends

Authors: Susan Shaheen, PhD, Adam Cohen, Elliot Martin, PhD Date: March 2013 Abstract: Public bikesharing—the shared use of a bicycle fleet by the public—is an innovative mobility strategy that has recently emerged in major North American cities. Bikesharing systems typically position bicycles throughout an urban environment, among a network of docking stations, for immediate access. Approximately five years ago, information technology (or IT)-based bikesharing services began to emerge in North America. Between 2007 and March 2013, 28 IT-based programs have been deployed–24 are operational, two are temporarily suspended, and two are now defunct in the United States (U.S.) and Canada. Bikesharing growth potential in North America is examined on the basis of a survey of all 15 IT-based public bikesharing systems operating in the U.S. and all four programs deployed in Canada, as of January 2012. These programs accounted for 172,070 users and 5,238 bicycles and 44,352 users and 6,235 bicycles in the U.S. and Canada, respectively, in January 2012. This paper reviews early operator understanding of North American public bikesharing and discusses emerging trends for prospective program start-ups.Public bikesharing—the shared use of a bicycle fleet by the public—is an innovative mobility strategy that has recently emerged in major North American cities. Bikesharing systems typically position bicycles throughout an urban environment, among a network of docking stations, for immediate access. Approximately five years ago, information technology (or IT)-based bikesharing services began to emerge in North America. Between 2007 and March 2013, 28 IT-based programs have been deployed–24 are operational, two are temporarily suspended, and two are now defunct in the United States (U.S.) and Canada. Bikesharing growth potential in North...

Public Bikesharing and Modal Shift Behavior: A Comparative Study of Early Bikesharing Systems in North America

Authors: Susan Shaheen, PhD, Elliot Martin, PhD, Adam Cohen Date: December 2013 Abstract: Public bikesharing—the shared use of a bicycle fleet by the public—is an innovative mobility strategy that has recently emerged in major North American cities. Bikesharing systems typically position bicycles throughout an urban environment, among a network of docking stations, for immediate access. This paper discusses the modal shift that results from individuals participating in four public bikesharing systems in North America. The authors conducted an online survey (n =10,661 total sample), between November 2011 and January 2012, with members of four major bikesharing organizations (located in Montreal, Toronto, the Twin Cities, and Washington D.C.) and collected information regarding travel-behavior changes, focusing on modal shift, as well as public bikesharing perceptions. The survey probed member perceptions about bikesharing and found that a majority in the surveyed cities felt that bikesharing was an enhancement to public transportation and improved transit connectivity. With respect to modal shift, the results suggest that bikesharing generally draws from all travel modes. Three of the four largest cities in the study exhibited declines in bus and rail usage as a result of bikesharing. For example, 50% of respondents in Montreal reported reducing rail use, while 44% and 48% reported similar shifts in Toronto and Washington D.C., respectively. However, within those same cities, 27% to 40% of respondents reported using public transit in conjunction with bikesharing to make trips previously completed by automobile. In the Twin Cities, the dynamic was different, as 15% of respondents reported increasing rail usage versus only 3% who noted a decrease in rail use. In all cities, bikesharing resulted in...

Evaluating Public Transit Modal Shift Dynamics In Response to Bikesharing: A Tale of Two U.S. Cities

Authors: Elliot Martin, PhD, Susan Shaheen, PhD Date: December 2014 Abstract: Public bikesharing—the shared use of a bicycle fleet—has recently emerged in major North American cities. Bikesharing has been found to decrease driving and increase bicycling. But shifts in public transit have been mixed. The authors evaluate survey data from two U.S. cities to explore who is shifting toward and away from public transit as a result of bikesharing. The authors explore this question by mapping geocoded home and work locations of respondents within Washington DC and Minneapolis. Respondents were mapped by their modal shift toward or away from bus and rail transit. The results show that in Washington DC, those shifting toward bus and rail transit live on the urban periphery, whereas those living in the urban core tend to use public transit less. In Minneapolis, the shift toward rail extends to the urban core, while the modal shift for bus transit is more dispersed. The authors analyze socio-demographics associated with modal shift through cross-tabulations and four ordinal regression models. Common attributes associated with shifting toward public transit include increased age, being male, living in lower density areas, and longer commute distances. The authors conclude with a discussion of the final results in the context of bikesharing’s impacts on other cities throughout North America. View...