Although more and more cities offer shared bicycle systems to their citizens, their use does not always meet people’s expectations. The general aim is to promote sustainable mobility, but a good shared bicycle system is not enough. Citizens need something more or different that has not been on offer until now.
For example, we might consider the Bixi system in Montreal a successful case, but this success has not been achieved only due to the quality of the system itself – the cycling infrastructure of the city has a lot to do with it. The Bixi system, which has been active for nine years, is widely used and works well. It has 6,000 bikes distributed in 500 stations among the whole city, but the success of the shared bike system is also partly due to the 700 km of segregated bike lanes in the city of Montreal, offering the security citizens need so they can choose bicycles for their daily commute.
Cities have a key role in the transition towards sustainable mobility.
Innovation in mobility not only comes from technology companies. Cities – understood as city councils and citizens – have a very important role to play.
Many cities provide references for the role of public transport in sustainable mobility. Mexico City and Buenos Aires have launched their own Metrobus systems, with exclusive bus lanes and frequent service. Both fleets now move millions of people per day. In other places, like London, the situation is similar: two million citizens travel every day in around 700 subway trains, each of them transporting more than 2,000 passengers.
It has been proven that the solution for moving large numbers of people in big cities by public transport. So, taking into account the current trend of population growth, we must work to make public transport attractive again.
Infrastructures clearly need to be improved to make city mobility systems more user-friendly, achieving a transition towards sustainable mobility. To achieve this improvement, cities must work together, learning from one other.