-dwellers worldwide are shifting lifestyles as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in terms of transport. As cities re-open, urban planners and designers are rethinking urban and transport infrastructure to adapt to a post-pandemic world. When considering options for resilient infrastructure, dockless bike-share systems — which were growing in popularity before the pandemic — have the potential to become a critical piece of the puzzle.
Hundreds of cities already have dockless bike-share systems in place, often serving as a means of transportation for the short distance to and from transit stations. China is largely responsible for the global boom in dockless sharing over the past five years. More than 360 Chinese cities now have dockless bike-sharing systems, with an average of 47 million trips each day.
A recently released WRI report, How Dockless Bike Sharing Changes Lives, investigated the comprehensive nationwide impact of dockless bike-share systems in 12 Chinese cities with relatively high bike-sharing usage and a thriving bike-share economy: Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Wuhan, Hangzhou, Nanjing, Xi’an, Jinan, Xiamen, and Lanzhou.
The study found that, with effective management and safe infrastructure, dockless bike-share systems can be an excellent last-mile urban mobility solution that enhances connectivity to public transit, reduces carbon emissions by replacing motorized trips, and improves public health by preventing thousands of premature deaths.
Dockless Bike Sharing Enhances Connectivity to Transit
In Chinese cities, about 82% to 86% of urban areas have access to public transport services within 500 meters. While this makes public transit a great option for most, it still leaves almost one-fifth of cities without proper transit options, especially considering that 500 meters is a significant distance to travel. As a result, the central concern in most cities is how to improve “first and last-mile” connections to public transit and build fully integrated transport systems.