Reference : A Geographical Analysis of Bicycle Sharing Systems
Dissertations and theses : Doctoral thesis
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Human geography & demography
Social & behavioral sciences, psychology : Multidisciplinary, general & others
Engineering, computing & technology : Multidisciplinary, general & others
Sustainable Development
A Geographical Analysis of Bicycle Sharing Systems
Médard de Chardon, Cyrille mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Identités, Politiques, Sociétés, Espaces (IPSE) >]
University of Luxembourg, ​​Luxembourg
Université catholique de Louvain, ​​Belgium
Docteur en Géographie
Docteur en Sciences
Caruso, Geoffrey mailto
Thomas, Isabelle
Hesse, Markus mailto
Chevalier, Philippe
Karvonen, Andrew
Thill, Jean-Claude
[en] Formalization ; Rebalancing ; Performance ; Success ; Bike-share ; Bicycle Sharing Systems
[en] This thesis evaluates the performance of bicycle sharing systems (BSS), autonomous systems of accessible bicycles that can be easily used for one way trips, and determines whether they are successful at achieving promoted social and environmental outcomes through quantitative and qualitative methods. Such systems are typically surrounded by positive narratives of success, health, environmental and social benefits. This work challenges these notions.

This thesis begins with the formalisation of BSS station level and trip data revealing alternative data contained within. Combined with spatiotemporal data analysis, this allows the estimation of trips, a potential measure of success. Due to most operators not providing consistent or comparable metrics of usage this work opens this heavily promoted technological transport innovation’s performance for public scrutiny. Performance estimates of 75 case studies show a majority having less than two trips per day per bicycle, suggesting a poor investment, regardless of existing social justice issues and exaggerated environmental benefits. Using this metric this work determines which attributes impact performance. While station density and cycling infrastructure, among others, are found to impact performance, results challenge promoted practice.

Formalisation yielded rebalancing, the moving of bicycles to adjust to demand exceeding supply. Spatiotemporal data analysis and interviews with operators provides the first description of applied rebalancing, providing an alternative perspective to the many theoretical optimisation models. Results show rebalancing is spatially selective and influencing BSS outcomes, potentially contrary to its purpose.

Finally, this thesis, through a critical urban sustainability perspective, presents darker aspects of BSS, beyond the golden narratives, showing conflicts of interest, controversy and the commercialisation of an initially environmental and anti-consumerism concept. Existential questions are raised due to BSS, mostly privately operated, providing benefits to an already advantaged class while public space is privatised and urban advertising increased. This work concludes by suggesting that alternative investment to bicycle sharing systems, such as cycling infrastructure, may be more beneficial and just.
Fonds National de la Recherche - FnR (19 months)
Researchers ; Professionals
FnR ; FNR4054695 > Cyrille Medard de Chardon > > The bike-share revolution: A mixed method comparative study > 01/11/2012 > 31/07/2014 > 2012

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