Who uses public bicycles?
Public Bicycle Sharing Systems are becoming increasingly common across the world’s cities and towns – but who is making use of them? A new study in Applied Economics Letters finds a difference between those who use public bicycle schemes, and those who prefer to use their own bike.
The study, carried out by a research team in Seville, Spain, surveyed 1395 users of the Seville public bicycle scheme SEVici, and gathered further information from 451 private bicycle users in the area. Those surveyed were asked three types of questions based on socio-demographic factors, travel preferences and characteristics of the bicycle sharing schemes available to them.
From their findings, the researchers were able to conclude that Public Bicycle Sharing Schemes are most likely to be used by people within the 15-20 age bracket, who are male, and educated. Salaried employees were also more likely to be users. These people “mainly use the public bicycle for subsistence trips (work or study) during class time or trading hours and are motivated by intermodal needs and the existence of a high number of docking stations within close reach.”
In comparison, private bicycle use “is more widespread among females who are also quite young, but less so, who use bicycles to make regular trips.” Previous studies propose lower public bicycle use by women may be because “females tend to be responsible for transporting their children and household responsibilities.”
The authors state that their results could help to guide urban transportation policy, and also suggest their findings could help to improve the design of public bicycles.
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