This visualisation is an early preliminary result of my ongoing PhD research into the potential role of cycling-based mobility services in urban mobility transitions in the Netherlands. The first phase of this research concerns business models for ‘Cycling-as-a-Service’, a term I use to refer to all forms of mobility service that provide temporary access to a bicycle (whether conventional or motorised) in its broadest sense (including tricycles, cargo bikes, etc.).

A preliminary representation of the relationship between fleet sizes at launch and the nature of relations with local government of Cycling-as-a-Service (CaaS) firms operating in the Netherlands in 2016-7
This visualisation presents the relationship between the fleet sizes of cycling-as-a-service (CaaS) systems at the time of their launch, and the nature of these systems’ relationship with local government. The fleet size data was gathered from publicly available reports in print and online (although these figures were adjusted in later interviews with some of the providers in this sample, the figures shown here are as reported in the press). The relationship with local government data is an interpretation of CaaS systems’ regulatory and contractual status with regard to the local governments of the jurisdictions in which they operate. ‘Explicit’ relationships refer to a situation in which the CaaS system is fully authorised by local government, its operations are governed by a contract, and its activities are fully reflected in the existing regulatory framework. ‘Absent’ refers to the absence of any such formal agreement, governance or clear status within a regulatory framework. ‘Tacit’ represents a status somewhere in between, reflecting activities that are technically disallowed but tolerated, and communication that is informal but regular. In the figure, each block represents up to 25 bicycles.
The figure shows that firms with small fleets, many of which are dock-based, tend to enjoy formal or explicit relations with local government, while larger fleets, of which all are dockless (except the OV-Fiets), initially or eventually find themselves in the ‘Informal/Absent’ group.
As a representation of the CaaS industry in mid-2017, this visualisation has many limitations, but the act of producing it provided valuable inspiration and hinted at ideas that I am developing further. Among the literature that inspired it, I note the following in particular:
  •  Beroud, Benoît, and Esther Anaya. “Chapter 11 Private Interventions in a Public Service: An Analysis of Public Bicycle Schemes.” In Transport and Sustainability, edited by John Parkin, 1:269–301. Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2012.
  • Albert de la Bruhèze, Adri, and Ruth Oldenziel. “Who Pays, Who Benefits? Bicycle Taxes as Policy Tool, 1890-2012.” In Cycling and Recycling, edited by Ruth Oldenziel and Trischler, Helmuth, 7:73–100. Environment in History: International Perspectives. New York: Berghahn Books, 2016.
  • Schönfeld, Kim Carlotta von, and Luca Bertolini. “Urban Streets: Epitomes of Planning Challenges and Opportunities at the Interface of Public Space and Mobility.” Cities 68 (August 2017): 48–55.