Public preferences towards bicycle sharing system in developing countries: The case of Mashhad, Iran

Leili Abolhassani*, Amir Pooyan Afghari, Hamideh Mohtashami Borzadaran

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Bicycle Sharing System (BSS) has been introduced as an alternative mode of urban transportation which can mitigate the consequences of excessive motor vehicle usage and contribute to sustainable urban development. Adoption of BSS within transport networks relies on their key attributes such as safety, accessibility, cost and convenience to meet the public needs. Yet, the required infrastructure is often developed without much explicit knowledge about the public preferences. The consequence of this lack of knowledge is more acute in developing countries where there are economic and cultural constraints in adopting new modes of urban transportation. This study aims to provide more insight on the key attributes that are considered by the public in selecting BSS as the primary mode of urban transportation against the other alternatives in a developing country. First, a thorough literature review is conducted to find common BSS attributes that have been investigated within developed countries in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. An empirical list of BSS attributes is then explored for the current bicycle sharing system in the city of Mashhad, the second most populated city in the developing country of Iran, based on frequent costumers’ judgment and experts’ opinion. A Stated Choice Experiment (SCE) survey is then designed and public preference data are collected from a sample of 90 randomly selected residents in Mashhad. Multinomial logit (MNL), mixed multinomial logit (MMNL) and latent class multinomial logit (LCMNL) models are used to investigate factors contributing to selection of BSS against other transport modes. We found that the MMNL model outperformed the other models in terms of statistical fit. More importantly, we found that bicycle fare, separated bicycle lane, bicycle quality, pavement quality, proximity of bicycle stations to bus stops, bicycle training programs, gender and employment status of respondents significantly influence public preferences towards BSS in Mashhad. People are willing to pay substantially more than the current bicycle fare to have safety, accessibility and convenience. The impact of gender and employment status on the public preferences is not homogeneous across individuals. Overall, the findings of the study have important implications to cost-benefit analysis of bicycle sharing system development plans in Mashhad.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-773
Number of pages11
JournalSustainable Cities and Society
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Bicycle sharing system
  • Latent class multinomial logit
  • Mixed multinomial logit model
  • Multinomial logit
  • Stated choice experiment


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