Sustainable bike-sharing systems: characteristics and commonalities across cases in urban China

L Zhang, J Zhang, ZY Duan, D Bryde

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Bicycles are a desirable form of transportation for many reasons, including the fact that taking a bicycle is environmentally-friendly, economically cost-effective, a way to keep fit and healthy and, on occasions, an enjoyable social activity. This paper explores the characteristics and commonalities between particular bike-sharing systems in urban areas, with a view to deriving influences on the sustainability of such systems. The empirical study is China and the paper analyses bike-sharing systems in five Chinese cities. China is suffering from the severe negative consequences of high private vehicle usage in large and densely populated cities. Nevertheless a long history of bicycle usage in the country provides great potential for such a green form of travel to be part of public and private transportation. The findings show that bike-sharing systems have varying degrees of success. The configurations which seem the most sustainable consider and integrate elements relating to transport planning, system design and choice of business model. Key conclusions are that those responsible for developing policy and practices in relation to bike-sharing systems need to understand the diverse aspects of value for the stakeholders wishing to engage with such a system. Public bicycle sharing, as a Product Service System, needs to be carefully developed to appreciate the quality and timely interplay between the physical design of the system and the provision of services being offered.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)124-133
    Number of pages10
    JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2015


    • Bike-sharing scheme
    • sustainable development
    • sustainability
    • China
    • case studies


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