Station-less bike sharing in Dublin – faster, healthier, greener

New research led by experts from Trinity College Dublin suggests that global revolution in station-less bike sharing provides a faster, healthier and greener means of transport than traditional modes.

The research – a collaboration between Trinity, Dublin City Council and Bleeperbike – explores the use of this new and growing mode of sustainable transport.

The research examines the usage of the bike share scheme using tracking data collected from the bikes used in the scheme and from a survey of Bleeperbike customers, which gives the richest source of cyclist movements around the city to date. This data is being used to determine how cyclists use the infrastructure provided in the city as well as to show researchers and city authorities where the largest flows of cycling occur.

When introducing a new mode of transport, it is important to understand which modes of transport are being replaced or used less. The research shows that 7.5% of the 6,000 weekly trips made via Bleeperbike could have happened by car or taxi, which saves an estimated five tonnes of carbon per year.

The distribution of BleeperBike trips taken in Dublin. More frequently used routes are shown by darker blue.

On average each Bleeperbike trip burned 140 calories, and the average distance cycled was 2.4 km.

Associate Professor in Trinity’s School of Engineering, and project coordinator, Brian Caulfield, said:

This research collaboration is very exciting due to the rich data source it provides. Trip distances, durations and start and end points are recorded using the bikes as remote sensors – enabling research based in Trinity to map usage patterns and explore how cyclists interact with the built environment.

Globally shared mobility services such as Bleeperbike, Uber and Yuko are changing how we look at traditional modes of transport. This is seen in the results from our research in that almost 40% of Bleeperbike users don’t own a bicycle. This service offers them a cheap and easy way to cycle in the city and, in many cases, this is the first step to bike ownership and increased cycling.

CEO of Bleeperbikes, Hugh Cooney, said: “Research collaborations, like ours with Trinity, are invaluable for us. It allows us to better understand our customers and pinpoint parts of our service to improve on.”

Senior Transport Officer, Dublin City Council, Maggie O’Donnell, said: Bleeperbikes provides an excellent data source within this research collaboration, providing information on cycling patterns and end points for trips. This presents a transparency  layer on the performance and usage of our cycling infrastructure network, highlighting  areas for new development.”

This research will be presented in detail at Velo-City 2019, an international cycling conference hosted by Dublin City Council on the 25-28th June in the Convention Centre Dublin.