"Innovative public bicycle rental systems - Evaluation results and recommendations from the model projects" published
The brochure "Innovative public bicycle rental systems - Evaluation results and recommendations from the model projects" (in German), published in November 2014 includes results from the second evaluation period as well as first planning instructions, derived from those empirical insights.
Germany has a traditionally high bicycle ownership, but for various reasons - for example commuters using public transport need a bicycle for the "last mile" - the German Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS) which is now called "Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure" (BMVI) - started in 2009 six pilot projects for integrating bike sharing and public transportation to reduce motorized car traffic.
The model projects were evaluated two times, guided by the aims of further developing the rental systems and estimating their effects and potentials. The insights should enable other municipalities and regions to conceptualize and to implement effective and efficient bicycle rental systems.
The first period of evaluation was conducted during the years 2010 and 2011. The results were presented within the brochure "Innovative public bike rental systems. Model projects at the start" (in German) and in a BMVBS online publication. A complementary report dealt with juristic and financial aspects of public bike rental systems.
Summary of the evaluation presented at the end of 2014
Public bicycle rental systems are part of modern municipal mobility strategies. The presence of public rental has changed the cityscapes within the different municipalities. They symbolise the change in urban mobility and provide new options for spontaneous everyday mobility, for commuters within inner-cities and at peripheral business parks, as well as for leisure traffic within the region. The projects from the pilot program in the cities of Nuremberg, Mainz, Cassel and in the Ruhr region demonstrate approaches of and experiences with the organisational, operational and fare integration within the public transport system. The pilot project on the isle of Usedom demonstrates the specific chances and challenges within a touristic region.
The experiences from the projects reveal important factors for successful public bicycle rental systems: high quality and appealingly designed rental bikes and station, easily accessible information, simple rental processes, easily disposable customer services and well-functioning smartphone apps. Likewise, those elements contribute to the quality experience and the good image of the local systems. Generally, short distances to the next available bike are especially beneficial for the system use. However, the numbers of users are in part still low, e.g. comparing the model projects to systems in other countries. There are several reasons for that: The project's systems are still young and only a few years in operation. Hence, the station density is partly too low, the local publicity to weak and a "bicycle friendly climate" is lacking.
Funding is a crucial challenge for the cost-covering operation of a public bicycle rental system: The model project has shown, that further revenues are necessary in addition to the rental gains. Those revenues can be generated from advertising, public funding or sponsoring.
The bike rental systems' positive effects exceed the actual bike use. They contribute to an integral public mobility service, including public transportation and car sharing, as well as to sustainable mobility behaviours in the long run. Furthermore, the systems have a share in positive images, of the city and of cycling in general. Hence, it is strongly recommended to focus not only the direct mobility-related costs and benefits, but as well the indirect positive effects, whilst thinking about the implementation and operation of a bicycle rental system.
The pilot project successfully demonstrates, that public bicycle rental system could be an important instrument for promoting cycling and the whole field of ecomobility. The new insights concerning systems as well as their users enable to further promote public bike rental and thereby contribute to sustainable forms of mobility within the municipalities.
Download: Innovative Öffentliche
Fahrradverleihsysteme - Ergebnisse der Evaluation und Empfehlungen
aus den Modellprojekten
Hrsg.: BMVI - Bundesministerium für Verkehr und digitale Infrastruktur
Projektleitung: BMVI-Referat G 23 und Bundesinstitut für Bau-, Stadt- und Raumforschung (BBSR)
Bearbeitung: Wuppertal Institut für Klima, Umwelt, Energie GmbH / Universität Stuttgart / Deutsches Institut für Urbanistik gGmbH
Berlin/Bonn/Wuppertal/Stuttgart, November 2014