Bike Share – What does the future look like?

Seminar Report

Thursday 9th July 2020

Location – Webinar, Blackboard Collaborate

This webinar was the twelfth in our seminar/webinar series and marked the end of our second year running Sustainable Transport Futures. Speakers discussed the future of bike share, including an academic report published by Salford University researchers, and insights from Greater Manchester’s future bike share scheme.

Dr Graeme Sherriff, Dr Nick Davies, Dr Mags Adams and Dr Luke Blazejewski from the University of Salford discussed the findings of their recent paper published in the Journal of Transport Geography, which reviewed the previous bike share scheme trialled in Manchester. Their study drew from an online survey respondents and 27 interviews, and explored the ways in which the technological, spatial and practical configuration of bike share schemes relate to a city’s infrastructure and existing cycling practices.

They adopted a capabilities approach and utilised the concept of ‘conversion factors’ to describe the differing capacities or opportunities that people have to convert resources at their disposal into ‘capabilities’ or ‘functionings’, and show how the practice of bike sharing can influence a population’s propensity to cycle. They found that many established barriers to cycling remain relevant, especially environmental factors, and that bike share creates its own additional challenges.

They concluded that bike share operators must recognise the role of personal and social conversion factors more explicitly and be sensitive to the social and physical geography of cities, rather than assuming that a ‘one size fits all’ approach is adequate. To do this they should engage more closely with existing bodies, including transport authorities and local authorities, in co-creating bike share systems.

You can watch our webinar presentation below (in 3 parts).

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Jimmy Hall from Transport for Greater Manchester discussed GM’s future bike share scheme. The scheme is driven by four strategies led by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority: 2040 Transport Strategy Made To Move, Clean Air Plan, Our Network, and Streets for All. Their ambition is to create a public bike hire scheme that is accessible to 100,000 households and that feels “owned” by the community. The aim is to deliver a pre-dominantly docked solution to enhance solution and reliability, with a network of docking stations where the bikes are never more than a 5 minute walk away. Phase 1 will see 1,500 bikes rolled out. People will be able to access the service using a smart phone app, credit or debit card, as well as an additional function for people who do not have access to the previous two options. The plan is incredibly ambitious and seeks to encourage a regional modal shift toward more walking and cycling across Greater Manchester.

You can watch Jimmy’s presentation below (in 2 parts).

Part 1
Part 2

Questions and Discussions

The Q&A yielded some lively comments and discussions, notably about bike design and the role of other types of bikes in future bike share schemes, including e-bikes and the possibility of even e-cargo bikes, as well as the design of the bike share scheme itself. The issue of equity and accessibility also came up and was discussed as an essential criteria for any bike share scheme hoping to encourage more people to adopt active travel behaviours.

You can watch the Q&A discussion below.

Part 1
Part 2