Does the role of a bicycle share system in a city change over time? A longitudinal analysis of casual users and long-term subscribers

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Abstract

Bicycle Sharing Systems (BSS) are rapidly being implemented globally providing a low-cost active transport option that extends travel distances with greater flexibility than other transport modes. The role a BSS plays in a city can be characterised by the type of users and their trip purposes, but little is known about how use changes over time or the factors impacting change. This longitudinal case study identifies trends in BSS patronage disaggregated by types of users and examines how policies (e.g., helmets, public transport fares) can affect usage by different user types. Time-stamped origin and destination trip data for the Melbourne Bike Share System (MBSS) from 2010 to 2016 was analyzed to identify trends by casual users and long-term subscribers (LTS). Overall, usage increased marginally, but the proportion of casual trips increased from 50% (in 2010) to 80% (in 2016). Policy changes within the MBSS area (e.g., provision of courtesy helmets, the introduction of a Free Tram Zone (FTZ)) affected use by the two types of users differently. However, the initial system objectives and system architecture have not changed in response. Usage by the two market segments by socio-demographic and geographic variables highlighted that both user groups correlated strongly with proximity to major transport hubs. However, while LTS usage is positively correlated with proximity to high-density employment districts, casual usage is positively correlated with the availability of separate bicycle lanes and paths and proximity to tourism destinations. Findings underline the importance of understanding BSS use by market segments and reviewing BSS policy, objectives, planning and design to adequately respond to changing user needs and manage the future evolution of BSS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-57
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Transport Geography
Volume71
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018

Keywords

  • Bike share usage
  • Bike sharing
  • Longitudinal trends
  • Market segments
  • Public transport interaction
  • Spatial correlations

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