Scholarly article on topic 'Bicycle sharing in Asia: a stakeholder perception and possible futures'

Bicycle sharing in Asia: a stakeholder perception and possible futures Academic research paper on "Social and economic geography"

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Transportation Research Procedia
OECD Field of science
{"Active transport" / Cycling / "Sharing economy" / "Asian cities" / "Stakeholder analysis"}

Abstract of research paper on Social and economic geography, author of scientific article — Iderlina Mateo-Babiano, Sameera Kumar, Alvin Mejia

Abstract Despite public bicycle sharing programs (PBSP) gaining global attention as important climate smart transport strategy to support sustainable, low carbon societies in European and North American cities, its uptake in Asia, except for China, has been unexpectedly limited. Moreover, while existing schemes in other regions could provide a better understanding about bicycle sharing, the need to improve our understanding of PBSP’s role in catering for the local transportation mobility and accessibility needs and requirements as well as identifying strategies to make PBSP better adapted to local Asian condition is in order. To date, there has been limited information and analytics to inform low-carbon local planning especially from the perspective of variious individuals. To address this gap, this paper aims to advance our understanding of bike sharing schemes in Asia by examining motivators, constraints and opportunities, and their contribution towards achieving sustainable urban mobility outcomes. Using a survey-based research design approach, this study examines the perception of various individuals on the perceived benefits, and identify factors which have facilitated or constrained the implementation of PBSP. In essence, results show that technical constraints were perceived to be the most restrictive and dominant barriers while there is general consensus that different types of facilitators support bikeshare implementation; also, environmental benefits top the list of benefits while the lowest scorer is economic benefit, providing vital and important information to inform design, marketing and communication strategies for PBSP implementation within the Asian setting. This paper enhances our understanding of the challenges involved in bikeshare implementation as a first step in planning for a smarter society. It also attempts to build the evidence base to comprehend the localization of bike sharing schemes. Understanding how PBSP can be locally implemented can have long-term positive effects through creating a cycling culture and changing peoples’ travel behaviors.

Academic research paper on topic "Bicycle sharing in Asia: a stakeholder perception and possible futures"

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Transportation Research Procedia 25C (2017) 4970-4982

Transportcrtion Research


World Conference on Transport Research - WCTR 2C16 Shanghai. 10-15 July 2C16

Bicycle sharing in Asia: a stakeholder perception and possible


Iderlina Mateo-Babianoa, Sameera Kumar b and Alvin Mejiab

"School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management, The Uni versity of Queensland, St Lucia, Brisbane, Queensland 4068, Australia b Clean Air Asia, Robinsons Equitable Tower, ADB Avenue,Ortigas Center, Philippines


Despite pub lic bicycle sharing programs (PBSP) gaining global attention as important climate smart transp ort strategy to support sustainable, l ow cerbon societies in European and Morth Ameri can cities, its uptake in Asier except fnr China, lias been unexnectedly limited. Moreover, wdele existing fchemes in other regions could provide a better understandi ng about bicycle nixing, the need to improve our understanding of PBSP's role in catering for the local transportation mobility and accessibi lity needs and requirements at well as identifyidg strategies to make PBSP better adapted to local Asian condition is in order. To Vare, there hvs been limited information and analytics to inform low-carbon local planning especially arom the perspective of variious individuals. To address this gap, this paper aims to ndvance our understandmg of bike sharing schemes rn Asia by cxnmining motivator constraints and opportunities, anh then contribution towards achieving sustainabla urban mobility' putcomes. Using; a survey-based research design approach this study exami rat the perception oo various individnuls on the perceived benefits, and identify factors whird have facilitated or constrained the implcmentation of PBSP. In esrence, sesults show thrt technical constraints were perceiked to be the most restrictive and dominant barriers whil e there is generat consensus towt different types of facilitatnrs support bike share implementation; also, envirovmentalbeneflts tsp tke tist of denekits while the sowest seorer ir economic benefit, providing vital and important infprmntion co inform design, marketing chd commumcatior strategies for PBSP implementation within the Asian setting. This paper cnhances our understandmg of the challenges involveo m bikelhare implementation as a Strlt step in planning for a ssnatSdr society. It also attempts to bund dhc evidence base So pompr-hend the locelidatton of bike sharing schemed. Unaesstanding how PBSP han be locally implemented can have long-term positive effects through creating a cycling culture and changing peoples' travel behaviors.

© 2017 Tht Au^re. PuMi^d by EkCTkr B.V.


Keywords: Active Sraasuort; Cootiae; Sdnriae toosomo; Asina oiSits; SSaktdotetr naatosis

2352-1465 © 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V.

Peer-review under responsibility of WORLD CONFERENCE ON TRANSPORT RESEARCH SOCIETY. 10.1016/j.trpro.2017.05.375

1. Introduction

Bicycle sharing is gaining global attention as an important climate smart transportation strategy to support sustainable cities. Public bicycle sharing programs or PBSP are low carbon alternatives that provide point-to-point mobility for short travels (Shaheen et al 2011; Midgely 2011). PBSP allocates a number of bicycles for shared individual use within a particular area, generally in relatively denser inner city areas. A person can take out a bicycle from one docking station for a short trip (usually taking between 30 and 60 minutes) and then return the bicycle to any other docking station, in lieu of using or complementing other transportation modes (e.g. car, public transit, taxicab and walking). Bicycle sharing business models vary depending on the operator, cost of usage, usage time allowance and operating times (Shu et al 2010).

Since its introduction, bicycle sharing bikes have been transformed to respond to the changing need and context. The evolution of bicycle sharing schemes can be categorized into four generations. Each generation is distinctly characterized by specific technical, technological or physical innovations. The first generation public bicycles started in Amsterdam in 1965. Known as "white bikes", these were white-painted bicycles offered to cyclists for public use. These bikes can be picked up at one of the stations, used to ride to their desired destinations, and left for the next user. However, "White Bikes" failed as bikes were thrown into canals or stolen. The first large-scale second generation bike-sharing program called "City Bikes" was implemented in Copenhagen, Denmark, with several improvements over the previous model. While more formalized than the previous generation, with stations and a nonprofit organization to operate the program, "City Bikes" was still exposed to theft due to the anonymity of the user. Therefore, a third generation of bike-sharing was created with an improved user tracking. The first third generation scheme was "Bike about" implemented in 1996 in England, where students could use a magnetic stripe card to rent a bike. The third generation of bike-sharing systems showed technological improvements, including electronically-locking racks or bike locks, telecommunication systems, smartcards and fobs, mobile phone access, and on-board computers (Shaheen 2010). It was only in 2008, that a global interest on bikesharing as a viable means of transportation ensued. In 2008, bike-sharing finally began to take hold, with new programs in Brazil, Chile, China, New Zealand, South Korea, Taiwan, and the U.S. While PBSP have almost become permanent fixtures in Western urban landscapes (in Europe, North America and Australia), its uptake in Asia has surprisingly been limited (Shaheen et al. 2013; Mateo-Babiano 2015). In 1999, the first bicycle sharing scheme in Asia was launched in Singapore. This was named as TonwBike but later on renamed as SmartBike (Larsen 2013). However, because of limited funding, the scheme ceased operation several years later (DeMaio 2004). At present, there are two schemes running in Singapore, a conventional scheme and another one being operated by a car-sharing company (Larsen 2013). South Korea has implemented twelve schemes while Japan has nine.

Except for China, considered to have the largest shared-bike market with a fleet of 858,000, the expansion of bicycle sharing within the Asian market has been relatively limited. A number of evidence arguably points to the scheme's high capital cost requirements as one of the key barriers for its slow uptake. In addition, some government agencies perceive a lack of citizen support, as in the case of Penang (Malaysia) (Loh 2015). Anecdotally, this can also be attributed to the limited awareness and the lack of understanding of its possible role as a green transport alternative within the context of Asia's distinctly diverse set of land use mixes, its potential in supporting the transport needs in dense urban centers and, most importantly, how it can complement the unique interaction between the formal (e.g. public buses) and informal forms of transport present in these cities (e.g. rickshaws, para-transits) (Mateo-Babiano 2015). However, there is a clear imperative to better understand how bicycle sharing is perceived by individuals and how these individuals comprehend the scheme's benefits, barriers and facilitators in order to assist in developing more targeted bicycle sharing and more informed policy making initiatives. To address this gap, this study examines the perception of stakeholders on the benefits as well as barriers and facilitators to the implementation of innovative PBSP technologies. To date, there has been limited information and analytics to inform low-carbon planning globally especially from the perspective of diverse stakeholders. In the drive towards achieving more inclusive and sustainable urban mobility, existing schemes in other regions could provide learnt lessons and best practices to Asia. The subsequent section, which is the literature review, aims to examine the current state of research in bicycle sharing research. This is followed by a discussion of the methodology. Section 4, the results and findings section will explore on the survey results and its glocalisation implications. This paper is then capped with the Discussion, Summary, and Conclusion section which will provide potential areas of further

research. Three main benefits arising from this paper include: an enhanced understanding of the implementation of inclusive mobility strategies such as PBSP; assist stakeholders, urban researchers and policy-makers to identify opportunities to reduce the cost and maximize the effectiveness of implementing PBSP; and provide important baseline data and metrics for a longer-term project monitoring the overall effectiveness of inclusive mobility strategies implemented within developing city contexts.

2. Literature review

Bicycle sharing has numerous perceived benefits, including improved health, enhance economic development, better urban environment and an enhanced quality of life (Shaheen, 2010). Despite these advantages, scholarly literature on why, when and how cities integrate bikeshare programs (or as part of a comprehensive transport and land use system) has remained scant (Ahillen et al., 2015; Faghih-Imani et al., 2014). The fundamental lack of awareness about the scheme and how it can facilitate certain outcomes is one of the reasons that restrict its widespread implementation (Bernatchez et al 2015). On examining Bixi PBSP in Montreal (Canada), Bernatchez et al (2015) found that the main factors contributing to the lack of awareness of PBSP include time, proximity and education, hence, calling on the need to design bikeshare stations proximate to docking stations or developing good dissemination strategy to increase people's awareness of the benefits associated with bicycle sharing schemes. Some studies have also identified important socio-demographic variables that are significantly associated with public bicycle use. For example, public bicycle sharing research in developed countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom have reported that participation is dominated by young, highly educated adults (Fuller et al. 2011) and these users are most likely men (Bachand-Marleau et al. 2012; Ogilvie and Goodman 2013), further indicating that a need to actively pursue a better understanding on the barriers which restrict female participation (Ogilvie and Goodman 2013). Most importantly, the need to determine what motivates individuals to join PBSP is crucial to improving participation and use. In the study of City Cycle scheme, Fishman et al. (2013) found that service characteristics including convenience and value for money appears to be of prime importance for individuals to participate in the scheme while helmets have acted as deterrent to bikeshare use (Fishman et al. 2013). Environmental features such as infrastructure and weather have also been found to be important considerations to the use of bike shares, providing important information to shape policy development and target cycling infrastructure to increase bikesharing (Zanotto 2014). Along with the increasing uptake of bicycle sharing is the increasing scholarly work on PBSP. These studies examined perceptions of stakeholders, mainly from users of bikeshares, in relation to factors influencing destination choice behavior of bicycle sharing (Faghih-Imani and Eluru, 2015); barriers and facilitators to use (Fishman et al. 2014; 2015); awareness (Bernatchez et al., 2015); bikeshare use in Taiwan (Te Pai and Ying Pai 2015; Ogilvie et al., 2012); among others. Yet none has examined in comprehensive detail the perception of potential bikeshare initiator and/or operator within the Asian setting. This research aims to redress this gap. Vital to this is the need to identify a theory of change. The "diffusion of innovations theory", a theory of change presents a possible framing to better understand stakeholder perspectives, sees change as being primarily about the evolution or "reinvention" of products and behaviors so that they become better for the needs of individuals and groups (Rogers 1995). To enable this change, it therefore becomes important to understand how people perceive their environment, elements which facilitate or restrict change, as well as their perception on how certain environmental factors influence participation and use in bicyclesharing, which are hard to objectively measure. Such information can shed light on the potential role of different stakeholders advancing more effective strategies to promote technological innovations such as bicycle sharing.

3. Methodology

An online questionnaire survey was administered to evaluate the interest of various stakeholders, representing the public, private and non-government entities, on bike sharing in Asia. The survey also examined the barriers and facilitators to PBSP implementation to be able to inform and guide the way forward for PBSP research and potential projects in developing Asia. Two key reasons why this study employed a web-based survey research design are: 1) the World Wide Web provides a platform to easily reach potential respondents who are distributed across a wide geographical area, in this case, the Asian region; and 2) due to limited time and resources, a web-based research

offers a more cost-effective way of eliciting responses to specific research questions. However, such approach has a number of disadvantages and limitations, including: the survey is only able to survey those with access to the internet, sampling challenges, difficulty in computing the response rate and because it is administered to a particular mailing list, results cannot be generalized. The online survey was implemented with a collaboration with an international non-government organization (i.e. Clean Air Asia Center). Potential participants were recruited through a web-based call for participation along with a link to the survey, which was sent out through an electronic communication environment, the CAA's mailing list. The mailing list became a platform to communicate the availability of a questionnaire widely and allowed anyone to visit the website and to complete the questionnaire. The survey was rolled out between May and August 2014 subsequently generating approximately 110 unrestricted samples. After taking out incomplete responses, only 93 responses were analyzed. As the number of members in the mailing list is unknown, it is not possible to determine response rates. The survey link provided additional information about this study's aims and objectives, the purpose and information about the researchers. By clicking yes, the respondents agreed to participate in the survey. Once they have satisfied these two points, they are then asked to start the survey. The survey inquired about their socio-demographic profile and travel information as well as their perception towards PBSP, benefits, barriers and facilitators. Figure 1 illustrates the survey questionnaire framework. During their participation, confidentiality of the study was reiterated to survey respondents. To ensure confidentiality of the survey and thus protect the privacy of the respondents, the respondents' names were no recorded and all the responses/data collected were coded by individual codes. Participants' URL, email address or names were not associated with data thus protecting the anonymity of the respondents. At the end of the survey, participants were asked if they would like to have a copy of the final report once it was available for distribution.

Are you familiar with Pu blic Bicycle Sharing Prog rams (PBSPs)

When did you first learn about PBSPs

How did you first

about PBSPs

Have you used a PBSP

Wthhaet is

purpose of using PBSPs

H Don't I Lg know I

Do you know if

your city B ^^^^ N I

implement edPBSP L

Please provide some details about the PBSP in your city or community

Will your city be

impleme nCng one

how popular would it be

will you

most likely use

likely use it if it is a,

Fig. 1. Questionnaire survey development

4. Results and findings: stakeholder perception on bikeshares

4.1. Respondent profile and trip characteristics

A total of 93 survey respondents participated in the online survey, with more male than female (Male = 59, Female = 34). While it seems that respondents are over-represented by respondents from the Philippines (n=26) and India (n=32), there were a total of 56 cities and 11 countries represented by the sample representing the East Asian, Southeast Asian, and South Asian regions. Almost 74 per cent of the sample respondents are between the age of 25 and 49 years old while the rest of the participants are either aged 18-24 (9.68%), 50-59 (20.75%) or 60-69 (5.38%) years of age. Online participants come from a diverse professional background with majority of the respondents employed (approximately 70 per cent). Only 8.6 per cent are students. Students, non-profit organizations, civil society, academics, private sector representatives, public sector officials both at the national and local levels, as well as self-employed individuals were represented.

Table 1. Demographic profile of survey respondents

Answers/Options N= 93 %

Gender Male 59 63.4%

Female 34 36.6%

Current 18 to 24 years 9 9.68%

age 25 to 29 years 26 27.96%

30 to 39 years 27 29.03%

40 to 49 years 16 17.20%

50 to 59 years 10 10.75%

60 to 69 years 5 5.38%

70 to 79 years 0 0.00%

Country of Philippines 26 28.26%

residence Japan 6 6.52%

Indonesia 8 8.70%

Thailand 4 4.35%

South Korea 1 1.09%

China 6 6.52%

India 32 34.78%

Nepal 2 2.17%

Kenya 2 2.17%

Singapore 2 2.17%

Taiwan 3 3.26%

Occupation I am a student 8 8.60%

I work for a non-profit organization, civil 25 26.88%

society 18 19.35%

I work in the academe 15 16.13%

I work for the private sector 9 9.68%

I work for a local -level public sector 13 13.98%

organization 2 2.15%

I work for a national-level public sector 3 3.23%


I am self-employed

According to Beroud and Anaya (2012), there are four main stakeholder types in relation to bicycle sharing, these are: (1) the promoter; (2) public space users; (3) equipment provider; (4) scheme operator (refer to Beroud and Anaya 2012 for a more detailed explanation of what these roles entail). Each category may have the power to influence innovation-decision process. While the survey did not specifically target stratified groups, the final sample represented a wide spectrum of occupations and sector. This implies that these individuals have the potential to adopt technological innovations (i.e. early adopters, early majority, late majority and laggards). While perceptions gathered may be varied, these also imply a diverse range of influencer in innovation-decision making.

4.2. Level of awareness on bikeshare schemes

Responses show that the level of awareness on bikesharing schemes amongst the survey participants is already high, however this has mainly been a recent phenomenon. Seventy-four per cent of respondents reported that they are familiar with public bicycle sharing schemes. While one respondent stated that he/she learned about PBSP almost five decades ago (in 1968), majority of the respondents reported being aware of bikeshares more recently (from 2007). Diffusion of innovations theory (Rogers 1995), which explains how, why, and at what rate new ideas spread through cultures, may help explain how knowledge about bike sharing is communicated across a setting. One element that influence the spread is the communication channels. About 40 respondents reported that they learned

about bikeshares from the internet, 34 from workshops, 26 from overseas travels. Fifteen (15) respondents indicated that they learned about PBSP from: academics, work (2), emails from peers, Velib in Paris (3), implemented in the city where I live (2), newspaper (2), the news, when studying (in Europe), work colleagues and journal papers. This demonstrates that the diversity of communication channels to disseminate information about bike sharing could have helped in increasing awareness about the scheme.

4.3. Initiators of bicycle sharing

While 56 respondents reported that their city has launched a PBSP scheme, 35 responded that their city has not introduced one. those who responded positively were then followed up with a query on the PBSP's organizational form, particularly if the scheme was market- or government-initiated. Results show that local authority-initiated public PBSP models were still the most common schemes implemented (n=20), reflecting a similar experience of Chinese cities (Lohry and Yiu, 2015). Beroud and Anaya (2012) categorized the governance of PBSP into market-initiated private models or authority-initiated public models. They have implied two distinctly different motivations on the reasons cities adopt a particular bike sharing model over another. It is presumed that privately-led market-based initiatives are implemented for profit while local government, typically taking on the role of a transport authority, implement bikeshare schemes as a public good to promote sustainable transport policy. Hybrids have also been popularly implemented, which combine characteristics of both models, particularly in the operation of the system (Nakamura and Abe, 2014). In China, only two out of 105 schemes are private schemes while the rest are government-run (Zhang et al., 2015). By examining 21 selected PBSP in China, Lohry and Yiu (2015) concluded that schemes that are being managed under a government-run model generally perform better than under a public-private partnership (PPP) model citing the distinctly constrasting goals between GR and PBSP models limit the performance of PPP. Shaheen and Guzman (2011) argue that to ensure success, municipal governments must play a vital role to play to achieve positive overall outcome. While local governments are assumed to play an important role in the effective implementation and/or operation of PBSP, it is also important to gain a better understanding on the motivations behind the implementation of bicycle sharing schemes.

25 20 15 10 5

I I I ■ ■ I

Who initiated the PBSPs? Who manages the PBSPs?

Fig.2. Initiators and operators of bikeshare schemes

The implementation of a PBSP may be motivated by a number of reasons, and the governance or organizational form would generally reflect such motivations. Government-run PBSP models are introduced as a strategy to support sustainable transport policy while private sector-initiated models are aimed at making profit through advertising. However, hybrid types also exist which combine characteristics of both models, or supported by other entity forms such as not-for-profit organizations. Figure 2 shows the results of responses on the question of who

initiated and managed bicycle sharing schemes. Interestingly, a significant number of respondents reported on being unaware of who initiated or managed the scheme, reinforcing the need to, if the aim is to encourage PBSP use, increase awareness to such transport-related innovations (Bernatchez et al. 2015).

5. Stakeholder perception on bike sharing schemes

Stakeholder perception towards the relative benefit of bicycle sharing schemes were elicited from various stakeholders to explore how the implementation of bicycle sharing schemes is deduced to deliver significant advantages to cities. And it also examined the perceived obstacles and drivers that may have affected its implementation, information which would further assist in developing more effective strategies to encourage use and participation of greener modes.

5.1. Benefits of PBSP

70% 60% 50%

Improves business, Lower infrastructure Reduces congestion Lowers personal

increase econ activities costs for 311 cost^^^^^H R^sport costs governments


Improves access

b) social

Increases transport options, Encourages more people to gwfflor use a bicycle

80% 70%

30% 20%

Good for the Reduces dependency Raise the profile of Promote cleaner & environment (reduce on fuel imports cycling or NMTs greener transport air pollution) option


^^B Strongly Agree

Good for health (promote an active lifestyle)

d) personal

Neutral ^^B Disagree

Provide flexible improve public Provide cheaper

mobility transport connectivity alternative to travel

^■Agree Neutral ^^B Disagree ^^BStrongly Disagree Mean

Fig.3. Benefits of bikeshare schemes: a) economic; b) social; c) environmental; and d) personal.

PBSP offer a potential pathway to encourage and promote cycling not only in these cities but also in other urban centers both in Asia and beyond. Respondents were queried on their level of agreement to benefits of PBSP (from 5=strongly agree to 1=strongly disagree). Benefits were categorized as either social, economic, environmental and personal, placing emphasis on the multiple dimensions where people and environment relationships are generally present. Survey responses recorded show that in terms of social benefits (refer to Figure 3), bikeshare programs are perceived to increase transport options (47%), encourage more people to use a bicycle (46%), and provide improved access to different parts of the community (44%). Analysis of the survey data revealed that in terms of perceived economic benefits (Figure 4), 52% strongly agree that bikeshare lowers personal transport costs and 47% strongly agree that it can reduce congestion costs while only 21% strongly agree that it improves businesses by increasing economic activities and attracting more customers while a third (34%) strongly agrees that PBSP entail lower infrastructure costs (in relation to other transportation infrastructure). In relation to potential environmental benefits, 68 per cent strongly agree that it is good for the environment; 66 per cent perceive that it promotes cleaner and greener transport option; 61 per cent indicated that it raises the profile of Non-motorized transport while 58 per cent believes that it helps reduce dependency on fuel imports. When queried about the potential individual and personal benefits brought about by PBSP, 59% strongly agree that it is good for one's health as it promotes active lifestyle, further reinforcing numerous research works which evaluated the health benefits of cycling. For example, systematic review by Oja et al. (2011) concluded that cycling produces several health benefits, such as improvements in cardiovascular fitness and risk factors for chronic diseases (Oja et al. 2011); improves public transport connectivity between home and/or destination; while 54% strongly agrees that it provides a cheaper alternative to travel, while 48% strongly agrees that bikeshares offer flexible mobility. Survey respondents also mentioned other benefits brought about by bike sharing schemes, these are: gives a feeling of communities transforming to become more vibrant and friendly; cycling is a more interactive way of getting around: you get to know your city better and discover new things; also more flexible for shopping and errands; prompts friendly neighbors; and reduces the desire to own a private car or motor-vehicle thereby erasing the social inequalities that are developed to variations in vehicular (type) ownership.

Fig.4. Service and operational characteristics

Bike sharing schemes offer valuable mobility and accessibility services to different users. Because service, as an economic activity, would be difficult to quantify, this study asked survey respondents to rate PBSP on a scale of strongly agree (5) to strongly disagree (1) based on their perception on 12 service characteristics of PBSP. Majority of the respondents perceived that environment-friendly (Mean=4.65, SA=63/91); Accessible (Mean=4.25, SA=31/91); Affordable (Mean=4.23, SA=40/91), Convenient (Mean=4.19, SA=30/91), and Flexible (Mean=4.17, SA=28/91). These findings concur with current literature. For example, bikeshare membership according to a study by Fishman et al. (2015) determined that convenience and accessibility (distance to closest docking stations) are two important predictors of bikeshare membership.

5.2. Barriers to PBSP uptake in an Asian setting

Although there has been a notable uptake of PBSP in Asian cities, there is still a limited understanding on the constraints and opportunities of such schemes, particularly in the area of progressing low carbon transport innovations in Asian cities. Based on current literature, barriers to PBSP implementation were classified into five key themes: physical/technical, cultural, financial. Each group was distilled further into five specific options. Participants were then asked to rate their level of agreement strongly agree=5 and strongly disagree =5) or disagreement to these options.

infrastructure is bike units & inadequate docking station

system or technology

a) Technical

Cycling Maintenance of Lack of safe places Choice of a PBSPP distribution

Considered as the Vandalism

poor man's transport option

I)) Cultural

Unsafe to use Too many

transport options

c) Financi al

Low profit margin High financial risk Lack of funding

■ Strongly Agree

Hilly topography Warm or hot climate Low density areas Lack of integration to (temperatures), wind, other public transport

high precipitation

d) Pliysical— levels,ra'nfa" _



■ Strongly Disagree


Fig.5. Barriers to PBSP implementation

Technical constraints were perceived to be the most restrictive and dominant barriers. It is interesting to note that in comparison to other dimensions, respondents perceive cultural barriers and overall negative community perception to be relatively weak barriers. For example, only 17% strongly agree that PBSP are considered as a "poor man's transport option, 16% perceive vandalism, 21%, theft, and 21%, unsafe to use, as barriers to the introduction of PBSP. On the other hand, the highest average mean score was for the following barriers: cycling infrastructure is inadequate (Mean=4.46, SA=52/91); lack of safe places to ride (Mean=4.41, SA=51/91); lack of public transport integration (Mean=4.13, SA=35/91); and lack of program awareness (Mean=3.91, SA=29/91). When asked to add, respondents also noted that other barriers as as follows: "streets are perceived as unsafe" and "the requirement to wear a helmet creates negative cultural perception ', "lack of space for stations", "mixed traffic conditions" and the most repeated: "I am worried of being hit by a car ... .when I am cycling..."As additional technical barriers, respondents also added "not enough docks, either full or empty' and "lack of information on how to use system". When asked to provide their own opinion, respondents added that communities regarded the following as constraints: "streets are perceived as unsafe" and "the requirement to wear a helmet creates negative cultural perception '. While respondents indicated that financial barriers are not as significant a barrier to the implementation of PBSP, when asked to provide their own opinion, respondents indicated that other financial barriers include the need for government support in advancing the argument that "PBSP provides a better living standard in a city", thus, "it should be considered as one among the basic duties of municipalities".

Climate was also perceived to be an important physical barrier with 25% of respondents strongly agreeing that it constrains them physically, particularly warm or hot temperature and high precipitation levels. To a lesser extent, hilly topography and low density areas were identified as physical barriers, with only 14% and 10% of respondents in strong agreement, respectively.

Some of the findings of this research concur with existing literature, for example, Midgely (2011) suggests that for a PBSP to be successful, the topography and climate of the coverage area needs to be relatively flat and temperate (Midgley 2011). Slopes between 4-8% are a significant constraint and limit access to a PBSP to a particular type of person (fit, strong, healthy). However, in areas of slopes and less than ideal climatic conditions (humid), it is possible to use electric bicycles (where no pedaling is required) to combat this issue. At this stage, electric bicycles are not a popular option for PBSP due to its weight and cost, thus, require further research to enhance understanding on how to improve its viability. It is hoped that as these systems evolve, hybrid electric bicycles (pedal to produce electricity - use the electricity at the user's desire) will become cheaper and lighter and a more viable PBSP option. In areas of snow and ice, there are currently no options to address this problem except to temporarily shut the PBSP down. In coverage areas that do not have the best topography and climate, to implement a successful PBSP, it would be ideal to create a system that allows the user to expel very little energy.

5.3. Facilitators of PBSP

In conjunction with barriers, it was also important to elicit facilitators to PBSP. Facilitators were divided into three themes: (1) design and technical, (2) financial and economic, and (3) regulatory/policy. For each theme, respondents were given a series of options to choose from.

While there is general consensus amongst respondents that different types of facilitators (regulatory, design/technical, regulatory) are important in facilitating the implementation of bikesharing (all average mean scores garnered were over 4), the highest average mean score was that of the regulatory facilitator: "have a strong political will to implement the scheme" (Mean=4.52, SA=59/91) followed by "the presence of well-connected cycling infrastructure" (Mean=4.49, SA=52/91). Other important facilitators include: "proximity to other public transport stops" (Mean=4.47, SA=49/91); and "higher employment and population density" (Mean=4.32, SA=44/91). As shown in Figure 6, additional analysis of the survey results show that the financial/economic facilitators towards the implementation of PBSP are partnerships with parking operators or public transport sector (47%), ease in membership (42%), allowing first 30 minutes of use free (38%) and integrated ticketing (36%). Regulatory/policy facilitators received a very strong response. Almost 60% of respondents strongly agree political will needs to be strong to implement a PBSP scheme; 54% indicate strong agreement that a supportive policy climate is necessary

for nonmotorized transport, however only 44% strongly agree in putting policies in place to discourage private car use as well as a strong behavior change program (52%).

Shaheen et al (2012) conducted an online survey with bikeshare members and operators of various programs in North America, and the results showed that convenience was one of the main motivating factors for using bikeshare (Shaheen et al. 2012). For BIXI use, convenience was also a key facilitator (Fuller et al. 2011) as well as providing a convenient transport mode, bikeshare users are motivated the desire to avoid theft of private bicycles (Bachand-Marleau et al. 2012). To a lesser extent, improving the physical design of PBSP (36%) and user friendly docking bays/stations (35%) is viewed by the survey respondents as a design and technical facilitator. This result concurs with Fuller et al. (2011), which indicate that the spatial configuration of docking stations is a critical factor influencing bikeshare use.

100% 90% 80% 70% 60% Б0% 4o% 30% 20% 10% 0%

Strongly Agree

• I ' 8!4.33lÍ4.43ji42S2

4.0ШЩ4.1ШЁ 31 Ii il

b) Financial/Economic

га щ



■ Strongly Disagree - °-Mean

Figure 6. PBSP facilitators

6. Discussion, summary and conclusion

This study explored why bicycle sharing schemes has had limited uptake in the Asian context to date. As this is a pilot study, it initially examined the bicycle sharing experience of Asian cities to enhance ones understanding on why there is limited uptake of the scheme in the Asian context. Previous section shows that stakeholder perceptions (in relation to benefits, barriers and facilitators of PBSP) are overwhelmingly diverse. These diverse perceptions may have been brought about by the limited understanding and awareness of PBSP and the varying PBSP experience of one city over another may have influenced the specificities of the context, further requiring a comprehensive examination of PBSP in the Asian setting. Drawing upon the theoretical and empirical analysis that this study has undertaken, results show that there is overwhelming agreement amongst stakeholders of the benefits and values of bicycle sharing schemes. These results concur with earlier research in other geographical setting. For example, Shaheen et al (2010) summarized several surveys of PBSP users (Paris, Montreal and Lyon) that have concluded that the use of bikeshare increases convenience, bicycle use and participation, as well as ultimately impact the perception of bikeshare as a viable and sustainable transport option. Results further show that multiple forces are at play when examining barriers that constrain its adoption as well as facilitators to its implementation. In fact, survey respondents agreed strongly to the presence of numerous technical, financial, regulatory and physical

barriers which can deter bikeshare implementation in Asian cities. Some respondents overwhelmingly pointed out to the "lack of awareness" on bikeshare's positive effect to the community, health and environmental benefits, the potential of bikeshare as a transport alternative, and on understanding about the scheme, bicycle infrastructure and policies as key barriers to its implementation. More fundamentally, the "overall acceptability" on bike sharing as a viable commute mode, its low social status, and feasibility to cater to middle and high income group, is low further placing emphasis that much has to be done in terms changing the mindsets of private investors, the public sector and most importantly, the community, given that the implementation of a PBSP will typically involve a number of stakeholders that will need to be consulted in the design and planning for PBSP. In a way, this research exercise successfully initiated discussions about PBSP schemes towards improving sustainable innovation policy processes while also, it can facilitate the involvement of various stakeholders early on in the planning process, which may help build support for the scheme.

Despite a more in-depth understanding of the schemes and accompanying processes by which the innovation and diffusion of bicycle sharing occurs in specific contexts, relatively limited attention has been given to the development of policy processes that reflect this deeper understanding, particularly in newer or diverse contexts, such as in Asia. Facilitating bicycle sharing requires a number of intervention as can be gleaned from the survey responses. Respondents were in agreement that the presence of a well-connected cycling infrastructure, proximity to both formal and informal public transportation and proximity to employment and residential destinations are key facilitators to bike sharing. The lack of or fragmented cycling infrastructure within the Asia's urban landscape limits the attractiveness of active transport. However, when given the option to suggest facilitators to bike sharing, qualitative responses indicate that survey respondents are convinced that soft measures can facilitate bike sharing implementation. Government policies may need to be updated to include a "Share the road policy", "create budgetary allocations for NMT, policies to integrate land use and transportation in their local planning process, government pride in bicycle sharing, and action plan, which gives leverage to people who use bike routinely in their work schedule PBSP, and bicycle infrastructure into the transport plans are some of the actions proposed by survey respondents. Moreover, a key aim of many PBSP is to be as inclusive to the community as possible. However, it may be worth investigating how a PBSP can be targeted to a specific group, especially in a developing nation. For example, a large factory can look at the origin and destination data of its employees and develop a private PBSP for the workers. The same concept can be applied to a university, in a recreation zone, for use between one train station to another, as they already present potential captive bikeshare users. In implementing a PBSP in Asia, there will then need to be metrics available to assess whether the PBSP is succeeding in reaching these goals. Moreover, to make bikeshare schemes more feasible in the Asian context, the scheme will need to have set of realistic and regionally contextual goals and principles. In addition, to appeal to users in developing nations, membership should not rely on a credit card for security. The problem that lies here is that without user deposits, there could potentially be a problem with theft and vandalism as shown in the first generation of PBSP. In India, the solution to this has been to hold a user's ID till the bicycle was returned. However, this meant that the bicycle had to be returned to the same station and this defies the purpose of a PBSP. Possible solutions could be to hold a cash deposit (relative to the weekly income of the population) during the membership period.

In essence, the possibilities of bicycle sharing schemes are numerous. While bike sharing schemes have generated overwhelming interest from around the globe, with most of the rapid growth happening in cities in Europe and North America, its uptake in Asia, except for China, has been unexpectedly limited. But such a scenario also means that Asia presents an untapped opportunity for future bikeshare expansion. As Buhrmann (2008) states, proper implementation of a PBSP can have long-term positive effects through creating a cycling culture and changing peoples travel behavior. This paper advanced our understanding of Asia-based bike sharing schemes by examining motivators, constraints and opportunities, and their contribution towards achieving sustainable urban mobility outcomes.


The authors would like to acknowledge the support from Academy of Social Science in Australia. It also extends its gratitude to Clean Air Asia Center. The views expressed in this paper are solely those of the authors and do not represent the views of any organization. The authors take full responsibility for all errors and omissions.


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