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Optimising Bike Sharing in European Cities

European Union
Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project website
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Smart mobility and services (SMO)
Transport mode
Road icon
Transport policies
Environmental/Emissions aspects,
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

OBIS (Optimising Bike Sharing in European Cities) was developed as a result of the 'Big Bang' in bike sharing – namely the start of Vélib’ in Paris and Bicing in Barcelona in 2007. With the help of European funding from the Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (EACI) within the Intelligent Energy Europe Programme, the project gave 16 partners from 9 countries the opportunity to assess Bike Sharing Schemes (BSSs) all over Europe. OBIS started in September 2008 and ended three years later in August 2011.


OBIS will advance the role and the opportunities of bike sharing as a valuable instrument to foster clean and energy efficient sustainable modes of mobility in urban areas. It improves environmental performance, enhancing the quality of public transport, supports health and the overall quality of life. Due to the broad commitment of authorities to new green strategies, bike sharing is recognised as attractive to further cycling in urban areas in general. With respect to different countries, OBIS will identify good practices, success factors, limits and market potentials by analyses, demonstrations and optimised strategies. Key findings and recommendations will be published in a comprehensive manual. This handbook will support the adoption of bike sharing all over Europe and guide the relevant actors implementing efficient bike sharing schemes. It will furthermore be an essential input for adjustments in mobility strategies and frameworks.


Bike sharing schemes are planned, implemented and operated in an environment influenced by diverse stakeholders from many fields.  A variety of target groups was addressed by OBIS for both the project analysis and for the dissemination of the results.  At the same time, a representative selection of stakeholders was involved in OBIS as project partners:

  • National ministries;
  • Local authorities;
  • Representatives of cycling organisations;
  • Providers of street furniture, outdoor advertisers, etc;
  • Bike sharing providers/ operators;
  • Public transport operators;
  • Large employers;
  • Traffic researchers;
  • Consultants;
  • Customers;
  • And many more...


Parent Programmes
Type of funding
Public (EU)


The OBIS consortium has carried out the broadest analysis of BSSs so far. 51 schemes in 48 cities located in 10 European countries were included in the qualitative and quantitative analysis (Table 2).Most figures were collected on the basis of 2008 and 2009. The aim of this analysis was to assess which influencing factors affect the configuration and the outcomes of such schemes.The descriptive analysis of the OBIS BSSs reveals a few regular patterns, providing a snapshot of the current status of European bike sharing.

  • The larger the city is, the more likely it is to have a high-tech system.
  • The larger the city is, the more likely it is to have a BSS that operates 24 hours per day.
  • In warmer countries, the BSS is more likely to operate 365 days a year.
  • In cold cities, the peak in demand is in summer. Warm cities have two peaks in demand: one in spring and one in autumn.
  • The share of BSSs with long rental periods free of charge (> 30 min) is higher in small and medium cities.
  • The number of bikes in the system depends on the size and expected demand in the area targeted.
  • Automated schemes in large and medium cities provide more bikes per station and more docking points per bike than small cities.
  • The larger the scheme/city, the higher the number of rentals per bike.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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