Exploring socio-spatial inequalities in bike-sharing systems: case studies from Brazil and Spain

Authors: Àngel Cebollada*, , Esther Anaya-Boig, Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom, Marc Castelló, Department of Geography. Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Topics: Transportation Geography, Environment
Keywords: Cycling, inequalities,
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 2:00 PM / 3:40 PM
Room: 8223, Park Tower Suites, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Bike sharing schemes have been used to promote cycling and contribute with environmental, health, economy and social benefits. But it is not clear if these schemes are accessible to all population sub-groups in terms of income, gender, age and education. Furthermore, inequalities are not evaluated in these systems. Our research is framed in a new conceptual framework of the dimensions of cycling inequalities. Particularly, it develops a case study and a tool (an index) for the spatial dimension of bike-sharing inequalities. In this study, the socio-spatial distribution of bicycle-sharing schemes has been evaluated in order to explore potential inequalities. Firstly, catchment areas were defined. The coverage of the schemes and the access of the residents to bike sharing stations and cycling infrastructure were compared with the overall city population. Secondly, an index for spatial equity was created by aggregating the available indicators in the census that could be related to bike-sharing equity aspects: higher education proportion, property value, proportion of SUVs and non-commercial vehicle ownership. The index was produced at the level of census units and was compared with sub-district income information and a positive correlation was found. Results show that the spatial distribution of the bike sharing scheme and of cycling infrastructure is fairly equitable in Barcelona. Compared to previous studies that show remarkable inequalities in bike sharing systems in Brazilian cities, the index helps to identify which could be the acceptable threshold to evaluate cycling infrastructures socio-spatial inequalities.

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