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Description

A bike sharing system intends to provide a community with a shared fleet of bikes. Therefore, individual users do not have to own a bike, but rather everyone can use the fleet flexibly. Flexible options to use bikes at different locations can increase the attractiveness of biking – and thus the modal share of biking in a city – by providing more convenient options for commuters and recreational users.

For each bike sharing system, it is necessary to ensure the accessibility of the bikes and to manage the location and operation of the bikes. European bike sharing systems mostly use a dock-based concept, where bikes can be picked-up and dropped-off at specific locations. New market entrants are also disrupting the European market with free-floating and hybrid systems.

Bike sharing systems are most beneficial as part of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) systems. Through collaboration with other shared mobility companies as well as public transport, bike sharing can be conveniently fit into existing mobility platforms through integrated ticketing and pricing.

Problems to be solved

Congestion Air QualityClimate ChangeCollisionParking SpaceInadequate physical activity 

Congestion, air quality, climate change, collisions, parking spaces and inadequate physical activity are all ills affecting the quality of life of citizens. Bike sharing reduces land consumption and pollutant emissions by enabling trips that would otherwise be taken by private cars to be taken by shared bicycle transport. Even in urban areas that already have higher levels of cycling and walking, research supports that increased active travel substitutes for motorised travel – including cycling and e-biking – can substantially reduce mobility-related lifecycle CO2 emissions (Brand et al., 2021). Rented shared bikes cover up to 10,000 kilometres a year and are therefore used more frequently than most private bikes.

(and associated chronic disease outcomes)

Benefits

Bike Sharing Systems have economic, environmental as well as social benefits.

Main Benefits
  • Promoting sustainable private transport models

  • Promoting sustainable behavior

  • Reducing use of fossils in public transport

Potential Benefits
  • Promoting active living

  • Creating new jobs

  • Reducing GHG emissions

  • Reducing local air pollution

  • Reducing use of fossils

  • Reducing need for travel

  • Improving social integration

  • Promoting sustainable behavior

  • Improving public transport accessibility

  • Enhanced data collection

Functions

Functions help you to understand what the products can do for you and which ones will help you achieve your goals.
Each Solution has at least one mandatory function, which is needed to achieve the basic purpose of the Solution, and several additional functions, which are features that can be added to provide additional benefits.

Mandatory Functions
    Moving passengers by bike

    Shared bikes in the system enable passengers to move around the city

    Managing bike fleet

    Products that manage and coordinate the bicycles of the fleet

    Accessing service

    Products that enable users to access the shared bikes (e.g. via an app or kiosk)

    Providing adequate density/availability of bike sharing infrastructure

    Planning to ensure bike share stations are close enough to each other and desired destinations

Potential Functions
    Charging shared e-bikes

    Infrastructure (e.g. integrated into a docking station) to provide charging to shared e-bikes

    Informing customers about bike sharing

    Products that inform the customer about the services (e.g. apps, websites)

    Connecting bikes of the shared system

    Products and services (e.g. apps) that connect shared bikes with each other and to other transport modalities

    Paying for bike sharing

    Services that enable payment for using the shared biked (e.g. distance- or time-based)

Products offering these functions

Fleet Management

Comprehensive service portfolio gives fleet managers a constant, real-time overview of all vehicle data so they can optimize operational processes.

Variants

Bike sharing systems can differ in their implementation mainly based on the types of bike offered, sharing model provided and the ownership of the bikes.

Description

A standard bike share system is a shared transport service in which standard bicycles are available for individuals to book on a short term basis, either for a price or free. The transactions to rent these bicycles are normally done at a fixed station or via an app. Bikes can be borrowed from a station and returned either to the same station or another station within the same bike share system.

Supporting City Context
  • Sufficient locations and partners to create density of docking stations (if dock-based bikes are used)
  • Adequate city planning and building permissions for docking stations (if dock-based bikes are used)
  • Topography: flat landscape ideal (unless e-bikes are also included) , bike infrastructure – bike lanes, etc.
Use Cases

Multifunctional Mobility Ticket in Cologne

A multi functional mobility app and ticket is launched in Cologne providing users of public transport the access to use shared cars, (e)-bikes, buses, trams etc. with one ticket. It is an enhancement of the existing subscription ticket enabling the travelers to also use the shared mobility services.

Public bike sharing system in Tartu

With the aim of encouraging the use of bicycles and make this a considerable alternative to cars, the city of Tartu has implemented a city wide bike sharing scheme as part of the SmartEnCity Project. The system consists of public city bikes, parking lots with safety locks and a management system.

Bike Sharing and Car Sharing Schemes in Turku

A pilot bike sharing system (BSS), with 300 bicycles and 37 stations, has implemented in Turku. This measure will provide the first BSS in Turku.

Point-to-point station bound bike sharing

16 bikes were operated by HopperPoint as a service for visitors, workers and inhabitants in Strijp-S.

Description

Shared e-bikes (electric bicycles) provide the opportunity for cities to reinvent their mobility model, tackling all problems targeted by the overall bike sharing solution and promoting a healthy lifestyle by enabling both new users and longer trips on bicycles. Shared e-bikes should be plugged in when they are returned to a docking station in order to recharge and provide adequate capacity to the next borrower (most of these bikes also have a charging indicator to let the user know how much battery storage is available before the next recharge is needed). Additionally, overnight charging as well as battery swaps are possible. Similar to bike sharing for non-electric bikes, the transactions to rent these bicycles are normally done at a fixed station or via an app.

Supporting City Context
  • Topography: ideal for hilly landscapes or long distances
  • Sufficient locations for charging station infrastructure
Use Cases

E-Bike Sharing for the District

A first E-Bike terminal was opened in April 2018 at the central cemetery of Vienna. A second terminal is at the mobility point. 12 E-Bikes and a Cargo-Bike are in operation. The E-Bikes are available via the SIMBike App or through a chip card offered at the spot. Sycube developed the whole system.

E-bikes and charging stations

Tepebaşı Municipality has provided a bicycle sharing system which includes e-bikes and docking stations with charging stations. Additionally, a cycling path was constructed.

Offering a test fleet of e-bikes and cargo bikes

This measure consists in offering companies and residents in Årsta the possibility to test E-cargo bikes for a limited period of time in order to find out whether, and to what extent, these vehicles provide a viable mobility option.

Development of an integrated e-bike sharing scheme

The reduction of the individual car use and the availability of multimodal mobility for everybody is a challenge for the future. The focus of this Use Case is on the development of a carrier e-bike for mobility-impaired people.

Description

Cargo bikes are special purpose bikes intended for, e.g. families or transport of large/heavy goods. These can be integrated as part of the existing bike sharing system. Similar to bike sharing for non-cargo bikes, the transactions to rent these bicycles are normally done at a fixed station or via an app. Also, e-cargo bikes can be included.

Use Cases

Electric Assist Cargo Bikes (Pedelecs) for goods delivery in Manchester

The aim is to promote the sustainable alternatives for local deliveries using electric Assist cargo bikes. The Municipality offers the use of 4 bikes leased from a fleet of different bikes owned by Manchester Bike Hire to any organization in Manchester.

Offering a test fleet of e-bikes and cargo bikes

This measure consists in offering companies and residents in Årsta the possibility to test E-cargo bikes for a limited period of time in order to find out whether, and to what extent, these vehicles provide a viable mobility option.

Sustainable City Logistics - Cargo bikes for last mile delivery

This Use Case aimed to find a feasible solution to reduce the delivery of goods by cars and trucks in the city centre. Several kinds of boxes and logistic systems were tested out in cooperation with delivery companies.

Description

The current standard for bike sharing includes a dock-based system for inner-city rental of bicycles from specific pick-up points. Bicycles are rented and returned at specific pick-up points (although the point of drop-off does not necessarily need to be the same as the point of rental). The transactions to rent these bicycles can be done at a fixed station or via an app.

Supporting City Context
  • Sufficient locations and partners to create density of docking stations
  • Adequate city planning and building permissions for docking stations
Use Cases

Point-to-point station bound bike sharing

16 bikes were operated by HopperPoint as a service for visitors, workers and inhabitants in Strijp-S.

Public bike sharing system in Tartu

With the aim of encouraging the use of bicycles and make this a considerable alternative to cars, the city of Tartu has implemented a city wide bike sharing scheme as part of the SmartEnCity Project. The system consists of public city bikes, parking lots with safety locks and a management system.

Description

Free floating, or dockless, bike sharing provides inner-city rentals without any fixed pickup points within a defined operating area. Bicycles can be picked up and dropped off at any intersection thanks to a lock that is usually integrated into the frame of the bicycle, therefore not requiring a docking station to be secured. Transactions to rent these bicycles are typically conducted via an app.

Supporting City Context
  • Densely populated areas
  • Adequate legal parking facilities for free floating bikes (e.g. so that they can be parked out of the way of pedestrians and other vehicles yet still easily accessible to borrow)
Description

A hybrid bike sharing model provides inner-city rentals with guaranteed provision of bikes at fixed pick-up points. Bicycles can be picked up at pick-up points and, like the free floating model, dropped off anywhere. The transactions to rent these bicycles can be done at a fixed station or via an app.

Supporting City Context
  • Densely populated areas
  • Adequate legal parking facilities for free floating bikes (e.g. so that they can be parked out of the way of pedestrians and other vehicles yet still easily accessible to borrow)
Description

Most existing bike sharing systems operate as an economy-to-peer sharing model. In an economy-to peer sharing system, the operator owns the fleet and shares the bicycles with the customers.

Supporting City Context
  • Dense network of bike sharing stations
  • Topography: flat landscape ideal (unless e-bikes are also included) , bike infrastructure – bike lanes, etc.
Use Cases

Point-to-point station bound bike sharing

16 bikes were operated by HopperPoint as a service for visitors, workers and inhabitants in Strijp-S.

Public bike sharing system in Tartu

With the aim of encouraging the use of bicycles and make this a considerable alternative to cars, the city of Tartu has implemented a city wide bike sharing scheme as part of the SmartEnCity Project. The system consists of public city bikes, parking lots with safety locks and a management system.

Single base bike sharing

A mixture of ebikes and normal bikes is offered in a station bound bike sharing system located at one of the entrances of Strijp S.

Description

While most existing bike sharing systems operate as economy-to-peer sharing, there are also peer-to-peer bike sharing systems. Within the peer-to-peer bike sharing, users share their privately-owned bicycles amongst each other.

Supporting City Context
  • Scale: densely populated are with a lot of people willing to share their bikes to earn some money, e.g. students
  • Topography: rather flat, no high-quality bikes need
  • Infrastructure: Public bike parking areas, portable locks that can be opened e.g. by smartphone, bike infrastructure – bike lanes, etc.
Description

Companies can provide shared bicycles as a service for company employees on site, for large events or for hotel guests. These company bicycles may also be connected to municipal bike sharing systems.

Supporting City Context

Topography: flat landscape ideal (unless e-bikes are also included), bike infrastructure – bike lanes, etc.

Products

Fleet Management

Comprehensive service portfolio gives fleet managers a constant, real-time overview of all vehicle data so they can optimize operational processes.

Cost Structure

 

Costs Structure of a Bike Sharing System (BABLE, 2021)

Regulations

  • EU-IVS-Regulation: Ensuring data access as well as providing EU-wide multimodal travel information services and the provision of EU-wide real-time traffic information services (Russ, Tausz, 2015)
  • Local measures taken to keep streets organised / tidy from shared bicycles:
    • Limits on number of operators per city and fleet size per operator
    • Restrictions on parking locations and number of bikes per parking zone
    • Penalty fees for breaches of any kind
    • Requirement to install tracking devices on rental bikes
    • Immediate disposal of damaged rental bikes
  • EU Green Deal: The EU ‘Green Deal’ includes a Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy intent on doubling the cycling infrastructure, which could add momentum to the already rapidly growing interest in bike sharing systems (Bike Europe, 2021).

Operating Models

Within the currently implemented bike sharing systems, there are different revenue models. Some public bike sharing systems are implemented with a non-profit strategy. These usually intend to affect the consumers’ behaviour. The government, transport agencies, universities or not-for-profit organisations typically implement such non-profit bike sharing systems. Implementations of a profitable business model are applied by advertising companies or by companies who intend to gain profit by the implementation itself. Advertising companies aim to take advantage of the visibility of the bikes in the city and the user community.  However, for-profit companies gain a financial benefit from the bike sharing system itself and its fees (Winslow and Mont, 2019).

Operating Models of a Bike Sharing System (BABLE, 2021)

Cost Structure

Required Ressources of a Bike Sharing System (BABLE, 2021)

 

The expenses of a bike sharing system consist of relatively high investment costs for the fleet of bikes and rather low variable costs. The costs for station installation are particularly high, accounting for about 70% of fixed costs. Redistribution cost is an important variable cost component and accounts for almost 30% of operating costs. The following tables provide an overview of the different emerging costs and a price range for each of these costs (Frost and Sullivan, 2016).

Estimated Costs of a Bike Sharing System (BABLE, 2021)

Market Potential

Market size:  The bike-sharing industry has been steadily growing over the past years. IT-technologies and innovative business models ease the implementation of bike sharing systems. According to a market forecast conducted by Prescient & Strategic Intelligence the global market value in 2018 with 2.8 billion USD. Until 2025 an annual market growth rate of 10.2 % is expected. This results in a global market size of 5 billion USD by 2025, with Europe expected to be the fastest growing market (PS Market Research, 2019).

Market development:  The European bike-sharing market, in particular, is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 9.4 % during 2015–2025, from 139,090 bikes in 2015 to more than 340,000 bikes by 2025. The number of users is expected to more than double by 2025 (Frost and Sullivan, 2016). Since summer 2017, dockless bike sharing models have also penetrated into the European market, first starting with Chinese operators and now also supplied by several European companies and start-ups (European Bicycle Manufacturers Association, 2021).

Potential customers:  Bike sharing is especially useful in densely populated areas where the market is already wider for more customers and these customers are in-turn more incentivised to use the system, e.g. through denser networks of stations that are more convenient to meet their needs. Bike sharing is also a popular option among tourists as a way to see a city as well as in university / student-populated cities.

Stakeholder Mapping

Stakeholder map for bike sharing system solution

Stakeholder Map of a Bike Sharing System (BABLE, 2021)

Government Initiatives

Many European countries have a national cycling strategy.  These strategies help to improve the cycling modal share by allowing federal authorities to mobilise the different stakeholders involved in the promotion of cycling. Some examples of national cycling strategies are: 

  • Germany, National Cycle Plan 3.0: will replace the National Cycling Plan 2020, which aimed to achieve 15% cycling modal share in Germany by 2020. Priority areas for the new 3.0 plan include cycling as a means to tackle climate change and protect environment with goals to continue increasing cycling as a share of total traffic
  • France, PAMA (Action plan for soft mobility – Walking and cycling): aims to encourage cycling by giving fiscal incentives to people who cycle to work
  • Ireland, Irelands First National Cycle Policy Framework: aims to achieve a cycling modal share mark of 10% by 2020, up from 2% in 2006. This includes policies related to fiscal incentives, provision of bikes and other indirect tax benefits.
  • Norway, National cycling strategy - Get on Bikes!: aims at achieving 8% cycling modal share in Norway by 2023, by focusing on funding, infrastructure and communication. (Frost and Sullivan, 2016)

Currently there is no official EU Cycling Strategy. However, with the support of numerous other organisations, the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) developed its own strategy and set of recommendations in 2017, with many seeing a need for more coordinated cycling action within the EU (European Commission, 2021).

Supporting Factors

  1. High-density network: Highly concentrated and comprehensive networks of bikes and widespread program coverage ensures high accessibility
  2. Multimodal integration: Integration of infrastructures, information structures and payment with other mobility services enables convenient transfers (i.e. MaaS)
  3. Simple handling: User-friendly, on-demand registration increases usability and reduces entry barriers for new users
  4. Smart data analytics: Use of data-driven applications optimises pricing and operations while creating additional revenue streams
  5. High-quality bikes: Easy-to ride but also sturdy and weatherproof bikes ensure a comfortable riding experience and reduce maintenance costs
  6. Support of local authorities: Support of local authorities (e.g. in terms of bike lanes) and accessibility of public spaces and links to public transport can boost success

City Context

1) Size of the city:

There is no significant difference between the modal shares of cycling in small, medium and large cities (i.e. the percentage of trips made by bicycle versus via other forms of transport).

  • Differences in technology:
    • Large cities: technologically advanced schemes, more slots and bikes per station for automated schemes
    • Smaller cities: low-tech schemes
  • Operational hours:
    • Large cities: tend to provide a 24-hour service for operation
    • Smaller cities: tend to close the service during the night
  • Pricing model:
    • Small and medium-sized cities have schemes that are free of charge for at least 30 minutes (75% and 82%, respectively), while in large cities only 60% offer the first half hour for free (OBIS project, 2011).
    • Most systems provide multiple levels of user fees and tickets, range from tickets per hour (or partial hour) or day up to monthly or yearly subscription memberships. To lower losses due to potential bike theft, often users must commit a temporary deposit via credit/debit card or tied to their subscription contract.
    • Many major cities around Europe have signed contracts with private advertising agencies, which supply the city with free (or low cost) bikes in exchanging for advertising rights both on the bikes themselves and related bike share infrastructure.
    • While some cities have and do operate bike sharing as a public service (i.e. paying for the initial investment and operating costs), others also take advantage of national government grants or ongoing subsidies. Public-private partnerships (including through advertising agreements) also support many bike share systems.

2) Climate of the city

Local climate is an important influencing factor for cycle usage in different seasons.

  • During the cold season, the bike sharing system demand can be influenced not only by the weather itself but also by cycling infrastructure conditions (e.g. whether snow and ice have been cleared).
    • In times of the year when usage is lower, the operator could limit availability of bikes or even close down the system for maintenance. At times of the year when demand is high, additional staff and maintenance activities might improve service quality.

3) Infrastructure

Existing cycleways ease the usage of bikes and increase safety for riders, but in some cities where bike-sharing systems were implemented so far, the increased bike usage also made the municipality improve cycling way and the related infrastructure (ADFC, 2019). In general, whichever the direction of development, having a higher density of bike sharing infrastructure and available bikes can promote increased bike share uptake and use. Aside from providing infrastructure, bike share system operators and municipalities can also support systems by providing safety equipment (e.g. built in lights on bicycles) and making efforts to limit / target vandalism to bikes.

4) Topography

Including e-bikes in the bike sharing system is especially beneficial in hilly cities and suburbs of cities where people take the bikes to move longer distances towards the city centre.

Data and Standards

Required Software of a Bike Sharing System (BABLE, 2021)

The creation of this Solution has been supported by EU funding

Use Cases

Mobility Station in Mülheim

The Mobility stations in Mülheim provide commuters and residents of the busy district with a location, where they can easily find various alternative transport options. The aim is to encourage behavioral change from using cars towards more active modes of transport like walking and cycling. 

VeloCity Aachen

Velocity Region Aachen has set up a dense net of automated rental stations for e-bikes in Aachen. E-bikes can be easily borrowed and returned at any station in the city using a smartphone app.

On-call company transport as a flexible and sustainable alternative to company cars

Thanks to digitalisation and optimisation, a total of 14 accessible vehicles have been successfully operating between the Bonn, Darmstadt and Frankfurt sites. Since then, the company transport service has offered Telekom employees a flexible and sustainable alternative to a company car.

Optimisation and digitalisation of an existing regular service in Appenzell, Switzerland

After the service was launched it has been booked by over 16,000 passengers to date. The advance booking function in particular is very popular and has been used for almost 90% of journeys to date. This allows residents and tourists in the region to plan their journeys in advance and safely.

An e-bike loan scheme supporting low-carbon shared mobility

In an effort to encourage a modal shift away from cars, the Royal Borough of Greenwich implemented a business model and service for e-cargo bikes, and introduced an e-bike sharing scheme.

Electrified Light Vehicles Integration into Transport and Electricity Networks

ELVITEN demonstrated the usefulness of light electrified vehicles for urban transportation. Its focus was on bicycles, scooters, tricycles and quadricycles (EL-VS).

E-bikes and charging stations

Tepebaşı Municipality has provided a bicycle sharing system which includes e-bikes and docking stations with charging stations. Additionally, a cycling path was constructed.

Development of an integrated e-bike sharing scheme

The reduction of the individual car use and the availability of multimodal mobility for everybody is a challenge for the future. The focus of this Use Case is on the development of a carrier e-bike for mobility-impaired people.

Bike Sharing and Car Sharing Schemes in Turku

A pilot bike sharing system (BSS), with 300 bicycles and 37 stations, has implemented in Turku. This measure will provide the first BSS in Turku.

Single base bike sharing

A mixture of ebikes and normal bikes is offered in a station bound bike sharing system located at one of the entrances of Strijp S.

Point-to-point station bound bike sharing

16 bikes were operated by HopperPoint as a service for visitors, workers and inhabitants in Strijp-S.

Shared e-mobility system in Milan

Milan’s shared e-mobility system includes: e-cars, e-bikes, e-logistics vehicles, smart parking, e-vehicle charging, and condominium e-car sharing.

Public bike sharing system in Tartu

With the aim of encouraging the use of bicycles and make this a considerable alternative to cars, the city of Tartu has implemented a city wide bike sharing scheme as part of the SmartEnCity Project. The system consists of public city bikes, parking lots with safety locks and a management system.

Electric Assist Cargo Bikes (Pedelecs) for goods delivery in Manchester

The aim is to promote the sustainable alternatives for local deliveries using electric Assist cargo bikes. The Municipality offers the use of 4 bikes leased from a fleet of different bikes owned by Manchester Bike Hire to any organization in Manchester.

Related Solutions

Vehicle Sharing System

Vehicle sharing systems allow customers to use various vehicles without the need to own each vehicle. There are different types of vehicle sharing systems on the market. Differences can include the type of vehicle shared, like car sharing, bike sharing, scooter sharing or electric vehicle sharing.

Public Charging System for Electric Vehicles

The current EU regulation on emissions for cars is the strictest worldwide. Along with further restrictions the thresholds cannot be meet with conventional cars only anymore. One alternative technology, reducing the local emissions, are electric vehicles.

Smart Parking

A Smart Parking System makes use of sensors or other technologies to determine the availability of parking lots in cities. This information can be shared with drivers, reducing the time spent looking for parking, and thus reducing traffic congestion.

Bi-directional Electric Vehicle Charging

Bi-directional electric vehicle (EV) charging refers to EV chargers that allow not only for charging the battery of the EV but also for taking energy from the car battery and pushing it back to the grid when needed.

Last Mile Delivery

On-line sales have become an essential part of retail business in recent years. Consequently, the volume of traffic caused by delivery services has increased rapidly. What impacts cities most is he final track of the supply chain, the so called “Last Mile” delivery.

Electrification of fleets

One solution to reduce transport-related CO2 emissions is electric mobility. Depending on the characteristics of the fleet and its users, different options for electrification are most beneficial.

Mobility Hubs

Mobility Hubs are places of connectivity where different modes of transportation - from walking to rapid transit – come together seamlessly.

Drone Delivery System

Delivery trucks for parcels are a noticeable part of urban traffic that can be reduced by implementing a drone delivery system. As the market for deliveries is significantly and steadily growing, especially due to the increasing options in online shopping, this becomes even more relevant.

Electric Bus System

The Electric Bus System is a public transportation system that is operated by electric buses only. Electric buses are not only environmentally beneficial, as they do not have any local emission, but due to their longer lifespan and lower operational costs, they can also be financially beneficial.

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