P1 – What is Cycling-as-a-Service?
Cycling-as-a-Service refers to the practice of cycling on a bicycle that you do not own, but which you are able to access temporarily. It is a subset of Mobility-as-a-Service, which in turn is part of the Sharing Economy.
Cycling-as-a-Service is increasingly common in the developed world in the form of bikeshare, although it is growing in the developing world as well. At present, cycling-as-a-service is far less common in the Netherlands than might be expected in the world’s preeminent cycling nation. This can be explained by the very fact of the Netherland’s mature, mainstream and deeply embedded cycling culture, features of which include very high levels of (multiple) bicycle ownership, a very well developed national and local segregated cycling network, and a regulatory framework that is supportive of cycling for all ages and abilities.
Although the Netherlands has until recently lacked emblematic publicly accessible city-wide bikeshare schemes like Paris’ Vélib’ or London’s Santander Cycles, the Dutch National Railways do offer an intensively used national bikeshare system based around railway stations, the OV-Fiets. One of the interesting questions in my research is whether and how cycling-as-a-service could extend beyond this well-developed bike-rail synthesis to incorporate integration with other modes common in Dutch cities, such as buses or trams. A further question is how bicycle types beyond the conventional stadsfiets, such as cargo bikes or e-bikes, could be accessed on a temporary basis.