Can bicycle sharing mitigate vehicle emission in Chinese large cities? Estimation based on mode shift analysis


Yi Zhu

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Subject Area

place - asia, place - urban, mode - bike, mode - car, mode - subway/metro, technology - emissions, policy - environment, ridership - mode choice


Bike sharing system, Mode substitution, Urban sensing data, Emission


The bicycle sharing systems (BSSs) have been deployed extensively in Chinese cities. Would bicycle sharing helps to mitigate vehicle emission in Chinese cities? In this study, we attempt to investigate this question by estimating the emission reduction due to BSSs based on the mode shifts analysis in two largest cities in China, Beijing and Shanghai. The characteristics of the bikesharing trips are extracted from sample Mobike data. In order to examine whether the dockless BSSs can promote the transit ridership, the Difference-in-Difference (DID) analysis was conducted using the big data for BSSs and transit trips in Shanghai. The aggregated changes in mode shares suggest that BSSs in Beijing had a more significant impact on other modes, especially car trips, than the counterparts in Shanghai. However, the Mobike sample trips for Beijing was mostly very short in distance, which indicates most BSSs trips were unlikely to directly substitute car trips if not accounting for the changes in destination choices. Although BSSs provides an alternative connection option for urban transit system, the result of DID analysis shows the large scale deployment of the dockless BSSs in Shanghai hadn’t appeared to evidently stimulate the usage of the metro system. This finding doesn’t support the claim that BSSs could contribute to the emission reduction by complementing urban transit system. More empirical studies are needed in order to assist policy makers to perform more neutral assessment when regulating, subsidizing BSSs or integrating BSSs with other transit systems and policies.


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