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The Role of Bike Centres in the Urban Transportation Environment


Bike centres (also known as bike stations, bike depots, or cycle centres) are an established concept in many parts of the world. European examples range from little more than elaborate bicycle stacking systems adjacent to a bus stop to the familiar multi-level bicycle parking “garage” at Amsterdam’s Central Station. Other locations too have developed the concept. Asian (and some European) cities have integrated automated stacking technologies to reduce space requirements and discourage theft. In the United States, California introduced smaller-scale bike stations in the 1990’s, initially as an alternative to carrying bicycles onto transit vehicles. Their success has spurred a rapid expansion in the development of bike stations around the country. Most examples to date have focused on extending the reach of public transport. But can a bike centre be successful away from transit? Whilst the integration with transit is important, a number of recent applications have shown that bike centres can also provide a destination unto themselves and extend the appeal of cycling as a commuter option. As the cost of constructing vehicular parking increases, there is also significant interest from the development community as to the role these facilities could play in relieving vehicle parking requirements for redevelopment. This paper presents the findings of a literature review of bike centre experience on four continents. It identifies the range of services provided at bike centres and describes the market segments attracted to these facilities. A classification system based on a bike centre’s primary market attractions will be developed. For transit-oriented bike centres, opportunities that arise out of the synergies with transit and other modes of transport are explored. Less is known about commuter-oriented bike centres. As such, this paper examines some of the key transportation planning and policy needs of these facilities that can encourage their development. Overall, the paper answers the question of where bike centres fit into the urban transportation environment.

Conference Paper Details

Session title:
Adrian Witte
Road safety