a type of transport, cycling has many advantages compared to other modes of
transport. It is fast and cycler do not have to worry about traffic congestion.
Being affordable and space-efficient, it becomes a great choice of transport.
Most importantly, it causes hardly any negative effects, such as noise and
emissions. As a result, bicycles have become a much popular way for people to
go for a trip.
sustainable transport, planners and decision makers have paid much attention to
the development of cycles. Sustainable transport refers to the broad subject of
transport that is sustainable in the senses of social, environmental and
climate impacts and the ability to, in the global scope, supply the source
energy indefinitely. 1 The China government ‘s policy for
sustainable development is now focused on resource saving and being
environmentally friendly. At the same time, there are much pressure imposed on
the capacity of public transport dur to the fact that most large cities in
China are high-density populated. Thus, bicycles, especially public bicycle
hire schemes, have become a defining “symbol” of low-carbon city design.
the public bicycle has become much popular in China, we can see an improvement
of sustainable transport, especially in large cities. However, city planners
also face a series of issues about operating the public bicycle system, such as
difficulty of management, disruptive behavior to public bikes, the parking
chaos, etc. This essay focuses on the parking issue of public bicycles and how to
solve this problem in an effective way to promote sustainable transport in
presents some advice on the cycling park as well, such as the choosing of
location for cycling park and appropriate parking spaces, which should be paid
much more attention due to the fact that the cycling spaces are not enough in
most cities of China. The governments and most public bicycles enterprises have
been playing a positive role in solving the issue of parking, with lots of
methods being put into practice.
History of Bicycles in China
Before the public bicycle
appears, China was once well known as a “bicycle kingdom”, the bicycle remaining
the most frequent transport in China in the late 20th century. Using
bicycles for travel was particularly popular at that time. For example, 56% of
all trips was by bicycles in 2000 in Shijiazhuang, a city with a population of
Bicycle Was the Most Frequent Transport in China in the Late 20th Century
However, the mass use of
bicycles also caused some problems. There was a particular concern about their
effect on buses and interactions at junctions. Also, in 1994, in order to boost
economic development and gain experience from developed countries, the
government launched an industrial policy of developing the car industry, which
led to a rapid growth of motor vehicle ownership from 5,113,000 in 1989 to
62,800,800 in 2009. Therefore, the bicycle traffic planning has not been taken
seriously in China for quite a long time. In some big cities, such as Beijing,
Shanghai and Nanjing, there were similar policies in controlling bicycle use,
causing sharp decline of bicycle traffic. Figure 2 shows that the proportion of
bike use declined rapidly between 2000 and 2009 in Beijing.
Modal Share in Beijing. Source: Beijing Urban Transport Center
However, despite the
aspirations of the planners, limiting the use of bicycles has not helped to
improve urban traffic efficiency. Too much private car use had also caused
traffic congestion in large cities and had an adverse impact on the
environment. Considering a balance between economy and the environment, the
government has put forward a “resource saving and environmentally friendly”
Hangzhou municipal government
has been the first to take the initiative to develop public bicycles in China
and lots of benefits could be seen around people. The citizens gradually
regarded cycle traffic as a type of public transport, not just bus and
underground, and there were an increasing number of people who were willing to
use public bicycles due to its convenience, cheapness and zero-emissions.
Hangzhou’s initiative to incorporate the public bicycle system into the urban
public transport system has played a positive role in changing urban traffic
planning thinking in China.
“The Report of Year 2016 Market
of Public Bicycles in China” by Big-Data Research 2 suggests that
there are 3 stages of the development of public bicycles in China. At the first
stage (2007-2010), the public bicycle system was operated by the local
government and citizens can only get public bicycles from hire location. Over
the second stage (2010-2014), some local government gave the public bicycle
system managed by private companies. The most typical company is called
Yong’anxing. The third stage (2014-) was benefited from the rapid development
of the mobile Internet. People can hire public bicycles through dedicated apps
in their phone, such as OFO and Mobike. What is especially noteworthy at this
stage was no special hire location for public bicycles, which means citizens
can get them from wherever they are, much more convenient than public bicycles
with hire points, and there was a rapid increase in the number of public
bicycle users, which is expected to grow in the next few years. Figure 3 shows
the current and forecast number of public bicycle users from 2015 to 2019
(expected) in China.
Fig.3 The Current and Forecast
Public Bicycle Users. Source: Big Data
Actions of Governments
is true that public bicycles have a positive effect on improving urban traffic
and environmental quality, in line with the concept of sharing economy and the
requirement of improving people’s livelihood. The governments now hold a
positive attitude towards public bicycles. Some occurring problems can be
solved through the cooperation between the governments and public bike
enterprises, thus creating favorable conditions for the development of public
cycling, promoting public bicycles into the track of standardized and orderly
development, and providing the public with convenient and efficient
to the fact that the public bicycle is a product of the emerging Internet
sharing economy in China and just became popular in these three years, there is
still a lack of related regulations and laws. A unified and basic legal
regulations should be established at the national level. In order to strengthen
the operability of the relevant legal system, specific norms of public services
in each city can also be formulated. Enterprises like Mobike can supervise the
parking of bikes, but they have no authority to punish users in the aspect of
law. Therefore, the government can make related regulations which the
enterprises can follow.
government can also set a special area for the parking of public bicycles. The
parking areas can be set near place with high population density or human
traffic, such as bus stop and the rail transit station. BREEAM suggests that
where there are large numbers of visitors on a regular basis, provision of
cycle storage for visitors should be based on the maximum number at any given
time 3, so it would be better for the parking area to meet the
greatest demand of public bicycles. At the same time, relevant management
workers should be placed in these areas, helping public bike users park their
vehicles rationally, especially in peak hours of commuting to work.
response to the parking chaos caused by uncivilized behavior of users, the
government should work with relevant departments to promote the good behavior
of parking in order, exposing uncivilized behaviors. For example, some charity
activities or volunteer events for civilized riding can be organized on a
regular basis, creating a civilized atmosphere. As a new mode of
transportation, the development of public bikes depends largely on the public’s
cognitive level. Only users follow the rules and use them in accordance with
norms, like parking properly and taking the initiative to repair the broken
items, and then public bicycles can provide a better and efficient services for
the public travel.
Responses of Public Bicycle Enterprises
is a public bicycle operator using the Internet technology to promote public
bicycle use in urban areas. Users can rent a public bike through the Mobike
app. This company established their own user supervision system, the aim of
which is to encourage people put public bicycles in suitable places or Mobike
Preferred Locations (MPL, shown in Figure 5). The system gives each user
authority to supervise others. If one was found to park the public bicycle in
an inappropriate place, then this person will lose 20 credits in the credit
system. When one’s credits are less than 80 points, the price of using public
bicycles would be 100 yuan per half an hour, which is quite expensive.
Fig.4 The Mobike App Fig.5 MPL.
Source: Mobike official website
(the Internet of Things) technology is also applied to the public bicycles.
Each bicycle is real-time located through the Internet, and the location data
is connected to CUBE – Mobike’s artificial intelligence platform, which can
know the daily thermodynamic needs of users, accurate understanding of each
metro station entrances and even the specific location of the maximum user
demand through data analysis. Therefore, the company can transfer bicycles to
where the demand is the greatest. In addition, Mobike guides people to ride
bicycles to the areas with great demand by giving users lucky money, which
improve the cycle efficiency and save the cost of mutual towing by hiring workers.
The CUBE can also recommend bicycle parking points through artificial intelligence
guide. As long as users put public bicycles around guided area, a reward will
be given to them, and these parking points is certainly the most suitable place
to park a bike.
from the Internet technology and LOT, Mobike also seek to cooperate with local
government departments in order to integrate the public bicycle with urban
sustainable development. For example, People’s government of Yangpu District in
Shanghai and Mobike company signed a strategic cooperative agreement on June 24th,
2016. The Yangpu government was going to give full support to public bicycles
in Yangpu District of Shanghai, including the help with vehicle operation,
traffic control, urban cycling and parking planning. In addition, through working
with communities, Mobike can create a more suitable community for cycling
through the construction of bike parking points.
OFO is another public bicycle enterprise, which provides a called “electronic
fence positioning technology” to help users park properly. This technology demarcates
the virtual electronic fence according to the situation of the urban area. When
users park in the electronic fence, their public bikes can be locked. When
parked outside the electronic fence, bikes cannot be locked. OFO can make more
detailed delineation of parking areas according to big data technology, and
provides the government with plans and recommendations for cycling parking
areas based on massive travel big data. On April 6th, 2017, it announced its
cooperation with Beidou navigation location service. In the future, the public
bikes in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region will be equipped with “Beidou smart
lock”, which is specially developed by BeiDou Navigation and owns global
satellite navigation and positioning technology, so that the vehicle positioning
is more accurate.
public bikes enterprises are trying to deal with the parking issue, and lots of
these solutions have seen their positive effects. However, whether these
methods are effective in the long term is still unknown. Like the “electronic
fence”, objectors argue that whether this technology is effective depends on
execution of enterprises. Public bikes are now at its beginning stage, and
there is a lack of related regulations. If some enterprises do not strictly use
this technology in order to get more users and do not punish those users who
ignore the “electronic fence”, some people may like to use those public bikes
with loose management, and the “electronic fence” will be ineffective. There
are also some people who worry about that enterprises may set their “electronic
fence” on the sidewalk of public road, affecting public facilities and the
passage of pedestrians.
Points Design on Campus
In most of university campus
of China, public bicycles have also become much popular among students. Before
the public bicycles appears, the only way for students who want to cycle to
attend lectures is to buy a private bike, which is not very affordable to all
students, and bike theft often happens in some universities. Also, students who
bought a bike would hardly take their bikes away after graduation. The left
bikes in campus piled a lot year by year, imposing pressure upon the
environment on campuses. The appearance of public bicycles on campus brings
lots of benefits, such as its relatively cheap rent and the convenience of
mobile phone scanning. However, there are also some invisible and obvious
problems of public bikes as a public product: excessive use, non-uniform
management, installation of private locks and a disorder of parking. Under the trend
of public transport of cycling in China, how to carry out the idea of
sustainable development in campus has become an issue that the government and
schools have to think about.
The advantage of public bikes
in getting a bike from where it is also comes with an issue on parking, which
means students can put public bikes in everywhere around campus, although some
parking do not comply with the relevant provisions of the transport management.
The canteen’s entrance, dormitory stairs and the shelter of the woods have
become the so-called “parking point”. This not only affects the
overall appearance of the school, but also makes the safety management in
school a problem, affecting further development of public bicycles.
A feasible approach is to
establish bicycle parking spots in campus for public bikes as well. Unlike
urban areas, campuses are relatively easy to manage, which usually consist of
several types of buildings or areas, office buildings, accommodation buildings,
libraries, lecture rooms and laboratories. From BREEAM, it is suggested that
appropriate cycle spaces for boarding school (most universities in China are
boarding schools) is dependent on a number of factors including the site
layout, the age of the students and the school’s cycling policy 4.
Cycle parking spaces are intended for the use of students and staff and are
calculated based on the total number of staff and students. In addition, for a
combined school campus the number of cycle storage spaces will need to be
calculated individually for each function of the building 5. With
enough parking space and appropriate parking location, some equipment can be
set to encourage good behavior of parking.
A survey 6 taken
in Peking University in Beijing found that four types of bicycle parking spots
were catalogued on campus: (a) With bicycle lockers/racks, a shed and bicycle
services (pump and bicycle repair service); (b) With bicycle lockers/racks and
a shed, but no bicycle services; (c) With bicycle lockers/racks, but no shed or
bicycle services; (d) Without bicycle lockers/racks, a shed or bicycle
services. Considering the public bicycle accessibility, each entrance can have
a bicycle rack, and the capacity of the rack should be based on regular flow
rate of people. For example, lots of students need to attend lectures from
their accommodations to lecture rooms. Thus, the designer should put racks with
higher capacity of bike parking around the accommodation buildings and lecture
rooms. Of course, in some areas, the racks may not be suitable to be
established. In this case, a guided rectangle painted on the ground can help
people to put public bicycles in order. A sign or a special color can be used
to inform people on campus that these parking point is only for public bikes.
The shed can be considered for the design of parking spot, depending on the
actual situation of the parking spots, since part of locations may not be
suitable for the construction of sheds.
Four Types of Bicycle Parking Spots on Campus
Fig.7 Parking Point with Guided Rectangles
services should be considered as well, to which broken items can be transferred
to in case of their affecting public facilities. With the department of school
and students working together, public bicycles on campus can provide a better
service, thus improving the sustainable development.
to Parking Issue in Shijingshan District
many cities of China, it is extremely common to see the parking chaos of public
bikes. However, Shijingshan District found a way to solve this problem. The
concept of “service thinking” helped the Shijingshan government to change from
traditional “management” method to public service innovation.
approaches are considered in this project. The first one is to set cycling
limit according to the actual situation and the demand of the public. There are
30,000 public bicycles in Shijingshan District, avoiding disorderly expansion
of bikes. The second approach is to hire security staff, who will maintain the
parking situation of public bicycles. In addition to the public bike
enterprises, the government has the responsibility of bicycle parking as well.
In this district, the security staff were allocated near four main subway
stations where the demand for public bikes is the highest, cooperating with the
bike enterprises to supervise and provide services.
third approach is to set sheds for private non-motor vehicle. The parking chaos
of public bikes is partly caused by no parking point. As a result, Shijingshan District
allows private non-motor vehicles to be stored in the subway station shed for
free, making room for parking of public bikes. Usually at the design stage of a
city, the planners should consider enough resources and spaces for cycling,
while most city planners in China ignored this point, which can also be estimated
from Figure 2—the decline of bike use from 2000 to 2009 in Beijing and Figure 8
as shown below. Indeed, the limited space for cycling at the design stage
imposes much pressure on current solutions for cycling parking.
Fig.8 Shared Carriageway
for Cars, Buses and Bicycles in Shanghai.
Setting “transfer station” was another approach. Usually in peak periods
of commuting, the passage of trucks for transporting public bikes is limited
near subway station due to traffic congestion. It is a good idea to set a
“transfer station” in the street near subway stations, where public bikes can
be temporarily stored, effectively avoiding the chaos of subway station in the
In Shijingshan District, the parking issue of public bike was
effectively solved through service innovation provided by the government as an
active participant. To achieve the orderly parking of public bicycles, we
should not only depend on the responsibility of enterprises and the civilized
quality of the public, but also on the management and service capabilities of
in China are highly motivated to use public bicycles, which are benefit for
their body and the environment as well. However, large numbers of public
bicycles put in urban area also caused some problems. Typically, most people do
not put public bicycles in appropriate location, such as green space and blind
tracks. In some areas, too much bicycles are piled together, while in other
place, people can hardly get a public bicycle.
essay discusses about the methods that public bicycle enterprises could take to
solve the parking issue, especially methods based on the Internet technology,
some of which have been recognized as an effective way. These high-tech methods
help provide a better service for the public, and improve sustainable
development in China. Besides, the government in China have also paid much
attention to the parking issue of public bikes. Asking for citizen’s opinion
about cycle parking, it has taken a series of effective actions to promote the
development of public bikes. Since public bikes just appeared in these 3 years,
formal regulations still need to be made, people’s awareness needs to be improved
and the cycling resources and spaces need to be re-considered by the urban
of Shijingshan District in Beijing has proved an effective way to solve parking
issue depending on actual situation. In addition, university campus or other
local communities can also try to find their own methods to solve this problem
in their areas, not just relying on bike enterprises and the government.
3 years, cycling has been regarded as a mode of transport in China by more
people after a long period of limiting use for cycling, although BREEAM defined
it as an alternative mode of transport before 2013. It is not late for city
planners to allocate more resources and spaces for cycling, and try to find a
new mode for the development of public bicycles and sustainable transport.
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