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Open Access Exploring the Potential of Free Cargo-Bikesharing for Sustainable Mobility

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This article is Open Access under the terms of the Creative Commons CC BY licence.

How can cities solve the pressing environmental problems caused by the excessive use of private cars? By creating Free Cargo-Bikesharing systems, citizens are taking forward the transition to sustainable transportation systems.

Shifting user behavior from private car use to low-carbon mobility routines is a crucial factor in the transition to sustainable cities. A cooperative network of 46 Free Cargo-Bikesharing operators (Freie Lastenr├Ąder) with 9,750 registered users has grown rapidly within the last four years in Germany and Austria. However, little is known about the characteristics and usage behavior of these early adopters. Moreover, we still lack even a rough estimate of the ecological impact of cargo-bikesharing. In order to address these questions, we co-created an empirical survey among users (n = 931) in a transdisciplinary cooperation with 30 Free Cargo-Bikesharing operators. Results show that 46 percent of respondents maintain that they would have made the trip by car in the absence of a cargo-bike-sharing operator, indicating the high potential of cargo-bikesharing to reduce car usage. We recommend that municipal policymakers support cargo-bikesharing in two ways: 1. by complementing existing bikesharing systems with cargo bikes, and 2. by supporting local initiatives for citizen engagement in cargo-bikesharing.
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Keywords: cargo bikes; cargo-bikesharing; mobility behavior; shared mobility; sustainable urban mobility

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • GAIA is a peer-reviewed inter- and transdisciplinary journal for scientists and other interested parties concerned with the causes and analyses of environmental and sustainability problems and their solutions.

    Environmental problems cannot be solved by one academic discipline. The complex natures of these problems require cooperation across disciplinary boundaries. Since 1991, GAIA has offered a well-balanced and practice-oriented forum for transdisciplinary research. GAIA offers first-hand information on state of the art environmental research and on current solutions to environmental problems. Well-known editors, advisors, and authors work to ensure the high quality of the contributions found in GAIA and a unique transdisciplinary dialogue – in a comprehensible style.

    GAIA is an ISI-journal, listed in the Science Citation Index Expanded, Social Science Citation Index and in Current Contents/Social and Behavioral Sciences.

    All contributions undergo a double-blind peer review.

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