Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board
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Can Shared Mobility Compensate for Public Transport Disruptions? The Case of Milan’s Bike Sharing System During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Publication Date Sep 20, 2022

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic poses an unprecedented challenge for public transport systems. The capacity of transport systems has been significantly reduced because of the social distancing measures. Therefore, new avenues to increase the resilience of public urban mobility need to be explored. In this work, we investigate the integration of bike sharing and public transport systems to compensate for limited public transport capacity under the disruptive impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a first step, we develop a data analysis model to integrate the demand of the two underlying systems. Next, we build an optimization model for the design and operation of hybrid mixed-fleet bike sharing systems. We analyze the case of the subway and public bike sharing systems in Milan to assess this approach. We find that the bike sharing system (in its current state) can only compensate for a minor share of the public transport capacity, as the needs in fleet and station capacity are very high. However, the resilience of public urban mobility further increases when new design concepts for the bike sharing system are considered. An extension to a hybrid free-floating bike and docked e-bike system doubled the covered demand of the system. An extension of the station capacity of about 37% yields an additional increase of the covered demand by 6.5%–7.5%. On the other hand, such a hybrid mixed-fleet bike sharing system requires many stations and a relatively large fleet to provide the required mobility capacity, even at low demand requirements.

Concepts

Bike Sharing Capacity Of Transport Systems Public Transport Public Transport Capacity Case Of Milan COVID-19 Pandemic Public Mobility Station Capacity Share Of Capacity Transport Systems

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