Steer visualises London Cycle Hire trips during lockdown

During the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, public transport use plummeted and London, like many UK cities, is still experiencing reduced ridership due to ongoing personal distancing measures.

As UK cities plan to exploit the Department for Transport pilot for shared eScooters as one way to help relieve crowding on public transport, Steer took the opportunity to analyse how Transport for London’s Cycle Hire scheme, celebrating 10 years in operation this summer, performed through the peak of the crisis for both leisure and essential travel.

Originally launched in central London in July 2010 to relieve capacity constraints on the London Underground network, the scheme has since expanded across inner London with plans for further expansion. As more Londoners choose to use bikes for both leisure and essential travel, Steer has analysed TfL’s open data for Cycle Hire comparing trips from January-May 2019 to January-May 2020.

You can view the study here:

Key findings from the study include: 

  • Demand for Cycle Hire in London during lockdown has remained high.
  • Despite lockdown, demand for Cycle Hire trips were higher in May 2020 than in May 2019.
  • There were almost 66,000 Cycle Hire trips on Tuesday 26 May 2020, more than twice the May 2019 daily average.
  • The average Cycle Hire trip duration has more than doubled from 20 mins in May 2019 to 42 minutes in May 2020.
  • Leisure trips are changing the geographic patterns of demand for Cycle Hire with the top 10 cycle hire destinations in May 2020 being close to green spaces or the Thames.

In response to increased demand, TfL has already committed to expanding the geographic coverage of its Cycle Hire scheme and to expand the number of manned stations to help provide for demand.

Our analysis demonstrates strong demand for shared micromobility as a viable alternative to public transport for short to medium length trips. As urban areas around the world consider these alternatives to public transport, it is vital to ensure that all new schemes are planned to ensure the maximum public benefit for users, and to minimise any potential disbenefits (such as inappropriate parking). 

Steer has supported the launch and development of bike sharing and shared micromobility solutions in London and in cities across the world, working with Transport for London, London boroughs, local authorities and micromobility operators.

Graph of daily average trip duration
Graph showing total trips
Map showing most popular start points for cycle hire

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