Developing countries are facing increasing challenges to make urban mobility sustainable and more specifically to tackle the continuously growing air pollution and congestion caused by rapid increase in car ownership. As part of a broad strategy to achieve sustainable urban mobility, car-sharing and bike-sharing services have the potential to take private cars off the road with minimal air pollution produced by their own (i.e. many car sharing schemes provide electric vehicles).
There has been a rapid expansion of shared economy in developing countries at recent years and in particular the bike-sharing service. For instance, the total number of shared bikes in China has already exceeded even the sum of all other countries. Nevertheless, many of such schemes failed to create the expected demand due to a lack of adequate market research. Specifically, it is unclear about the factors that could affect mode choice behaviour in the context of a developing country, hindering corresponding transport planning and policy making to promote the demand for these shared services.
Examining today’s progress: Investigating the factors that could influence the choice of bike-sharing service
Our lab is conducting a case study in Taiyuan (China), which has more than 3 million citizens and operates one of the most successful bike sharing schemes in developing countries. Choice models are developed based on the collected travel behaviour data to assess the impacts of a variety of factors on bike-sharing choice.
Exploring future opportunities: Identifying effective policy pathways on bike-sharing and car-sharing to take private cars off the road
Bike-sharing on its own can do very little in being a practical alternative to private cars due to its increasing market share is often at the expense of public transit and walking trips. Car sharing, which offers a flexible way of driving without the need to own a car, has proven to be a more promising solution. However, there are currently a limited number of car-sharing schemes in developing countries and the schemes are in general have limited scales. Our lab aims to simulate various policy combinations on bike-sharing and car-sharing to find out the most effective pathways to reduce private car usage for developing countries.