The characteristics of bike-sharing usage: case study in Zhongshan, China

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Public bike systems have grown in popularity and are expanding rapidly across cities worldwide. Such systems provide access to pickup and drop-off public bikes at numerous bike stations for free or for an affordable fee and aim at increasing bike use and extending the accessibility of traditional public transport systems. A variety of studies have examined the characteristics of bike-sharing systems, mostly in American and European cities and with a focus on user demographics. The objective of this study is to investigate the general characteristics of system usage, in terms of system efficiency, trip characteristics and bike activity patterns, for Zhongshan’s public bike system during a five-month period. The findings
show that the system is not very efficient based on usage metrics which are low compared to successful systems in other countries. Demand is relatively high in city centre zones due to high population and activity density. However, there is no clear direction of inbound or outbound trips in rush hours. This may be attributed not only to mixed land use patterns throughout the city, but also to the fact that most trips are local trips over short distance. This could indicate that public bike trips are mainly substitute for walking trips rather than for car or PT trips. On the outskirts, demand and system efficiency are low, indicating that location allocation of stations needs adjustment. In the conclusions, we discuss how these findings can be used for improving the system.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-255
JournalInternational journal of transport development and integration
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Bike-sharing
  • Bike activity patterns
  • System efficiency
  • Trip characteristics


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