Background: Urban bike sharing systems (BSS) are currently gaining momentum worldwide. They are regarded as integrated elements of public transport systems and perfectly anticipate the societal trend of the sharing economy as well as healthy and sustainable urban lifestyles. While BSSs are already well established in large metropolises, such as Paris, London or New York City, large and midsized cities have made first experiences in the past few years or are currently in the phase of launching new systems.
Purpose and methods: System metrics of BSSs are becoming increasingly available. However, cities and operators need information on the potentials of a BSS in a particular urban environment before investments are being made. In order to transfer existing knowledge and parameters to a specific urban setting, consider citizens preferences and to provide an evidence base for decision makers, we propose a spatial framework, which builds on spatial data and is implemented in geographic information systems (GIS).
Case study: The applicability of this spatially explicit approach is demonstrated in a case study from Salzburg (Austria). Besides the decision-critical information that is gained through spatial models and analyses, the integrative role of maps becomes obvious. They serve as intuitive, common reference for inputs, discussion and presentation of results and thus perfectly facilitate a multi-perspective planning process.