With growing urbanisation, cities are required to monitor the increased level of congestion and emissions in the region. Increasing negative recognition of the private automobile has emerged over recent years, highlighting the need for sustainable transportation in the cities. One of the rising trends in sustainable transport is the Bicycle-Sharing Program (BSP). The number of Bicycle-Sharing Programs (BSPs) has seen a dramatic increase in recent years. In contemporary Bike-Sharing Programs, bikes are provided by the operator, which can be picked up and dropped off at a self-serving docking station. It is a non-motorised or partially motorised human-powered public transport system. The nature of trips made through BSP is generally of short duration (less than 30 minutes). The key characteristic of the system is shared use, availability of bicycles at multiple locations, and a human-powered fleet.

The infrastructure of BSP has also gradually improved with technology interventions like customised bicycles having automated docking stations, user payment through cards, and websites providing occupancy rates. Thus, providing an attractive solution to congestion in cities.

The Bicycle sharing program intends for benefits like:

  • Emission Reduction
  • Health Benefits
  • Saving in fuel consumption
  • Saving in travel cost

The benefits are pertaining to the modal shift from motorised transport to Bicycle.

The EU-funded European Cyclist Federation developed and implemented a policy framework where the Bicycle Sharing program is realised as a critical component of the city’s transportation system. It further emphasises the need to evolve the Public Bike Sharing (PBS) ecosystem through strategic policy and regulatory framework.

Exemplar

The widespread availability of BSP in cities like London led to an increase in the visibility of people cycling in everyday clothes. This helped in the perception of cycling beyond an activity for sports enthusiasts. As a green mode of transport, cities also envisioned the role of BSP in improving the air quality and mobility experience in the city. The system also contributed to reviving the cycling culture in many European Cities.

Image Courtesy: Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

The proximity of bicycle station and tube station in London.

 

The capital city of Colombia, Bogota, has also made advancements in having Shared Bicycle System to move the citizens sustainably. The city is ready to have its first Bicycle Sharing System with stations implemented with the latest technology. The system will allow communication features like the status of each vehicle, performing fast charging, and verifying availability at each Valet station. The city plans to have at least 300 stations with 3300 bicycles, of which 50% will be pedal-assisted.

The key features of the Bicycle Sharing System in Bogota:

  • Use of Manocletas, an accessory that allows people in wheelchairs to access the system.
  • A fleet of Cargo Bicycles having drawers and chairs to facilitate care trips of women.
  • Connection with a public transport system to offer first-mile last-mile connectivity.

Image Courtesy: Quinto Centenario Cycle Avenue, Bogotá, Colombia – © Alcaldía de Bogotá

 

Moving Forward Together

A Public Bicycle Sharing system has the potential to serve both as a first mile-last mile mode as well as an independent model. It depends on how cities integrate the service with public transport. The PBS program is not a silver bullet to increase cycling mode share. However, it is an active strategy to encourage cycling and the development of consequent infrastructure.

Moreover, successful implementation of the PBS system requires cities to have a clear objective throughout their planning and execution stage to reap its benefits of emission and congestion reduction.

Edited By: Ronika Postaria

Image Courtesy : Zvi Leve

Ayush Jain

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