Becker, S., & Rudolf, C. (2018). Exploring the Potential of Free Cargo-Bikesharing for Sustainable Mobility. GAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society, 27(1), 156-164(9). doi:10.14512/gaia.27.1.11.
How can cities solve the pressing environmental problems caused by the excessive use of private cars? By creating Free Cargo-Bikesharing systems, citizens are taking forward the transition to sustainable transportation systems.
Shifting user behavior from private car use to low-carbon mobility routines is a crucial factor in the transition to sustainable cities. A cooperative network of 46 Free Cargo-Bikesharing operators (Freie Lastenräder) with 9,750 registered users has grown rapidly within the last four years in Germany and Austria. However, little is known about the characteristics and usage behavior of these early adopters. Moreover, we still lack even a rough estimate of the ecological impact of cargo-bikesharing. In order to address these questions, we co-created an empirical survey among users (n = 931) in a transdisciplinary cooperation with 30 Free Cargo-Bikesharing operators. Results show that 46 percent of respondents maintain that they would have made the trip by car in the absence of a cargo-bike-sharing operator, indicating the high potential of cargo-bikesharing to reduce car usage. We recommend that municipal policymakers support cargo-bikesharing in two ways: 1. by complementing existing bikesharing systems with cargo bikes, and 2. by supporting local initiatives for citizen engagement in cargo-bikesharing.