Nikitas, Alexandros, Wallgren, Pontus and Rahe, Ulrike (2014) Public Bicycles: How the Concept of Human-Oriented “Mobility Sharing” Technology Can Influence Travel Behaviour Norms and Reshape Design Education. In: 16th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education "Design Education & Human Technology Relations", 4th - 5th September 2014, Enschede, The Netherlands.

Although at the moment an excess of 500 public bicycle schemes of variable sizes operate in almost 50 countries worldwide, the impact of their use on travel behaviour and modal change have neither been studied extensively nor have been understood thoroughly as yet. This work negotiates the initial stages of an international research scheme that means to look into the attitudes and system user experiences (the latter only when it is applicable) that could define the design (or re-design) criteria for three public bicycle schemes in three cities of different size and culture. These systems are currently on three dissimilar operational phases spanning from bidding for funding to actually having a fairly successful system already in place. As a matter of fact, the choice of the three case study cities represent an effort to frame the dynamics of the bike-sharing phenomenon in a micro-scale (Drama, Greece, 50.000 residents), meso-scale (Gothenburg, Sweden, 500.000 residents) and mega-scale (Shanghai, China, 23 million residents) looking also into the attitude-shaping process before and after the implementation of a scheme. This project’s didactic role is a twin one; it aims to reinforce education practice on sustainable mobilities design by using student projects as an apparatus for supporting research and promoting urban change in real societal terms and subsequently to integrate the findings of the research into future postgraduate and undergraduate course material. Thus, bike-sharing design, for the means of this paper, aims to serve as an academic platform for integrating and synchronising research and education by promoting a balanced and timely development of technological opportunities that capture the mobility needs of tomorrow.


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