City of Salzburg: Assessment of potential for bike-sharing system

Bicycle rental systems as city transport are currently experiencing tailwind. The advantages of these systems are versatile: bicycle mobility as healthy, sustainable mode of transport is particularly promoted in traffic-afflicted cities. Catchment areas of public transport stops can be significantly widened. Further, the trend from ownership to “sharing economy” has long since reached the mobility sector.

Many major cities around the globe are already offering and promoting bike sharing. This means a certain set of data and experience around operative and economical questions is already available. At the moment, more and more smaller and medium-sized cities are preparing to implement bicycle rental systems. Given their budgetary and political framework it is extremely important to equip the decision makers involved with relevant information and in a second step with a certain planning security. The challenge lies in transferring existing key figures to the specific situations of individual cities.

Analysis of the potential for a bike rental system in the city of Salzburg

Over the last year, Cycle Competence Member GI Mobility Lab at the Interfaculty Department of Geoinformatics (University of Salzburg) has supported the City of Salzburg and the Salzburg AG as future operator of a bicycle rental system in Salzburg in this project.  All spatial facets of the envisaged project were focused on.

In a first step, the spatial structure of the city was lined out in various demographic and economic dimensions. Based on key figures of other cities this allowed the calculation of spatially differentiated potential. This led to a conservative estimate for potential 2,000 and 3,000 journeys per day across the city area. Apart from this potential that was calculated based on the spatial structure an open online survey was conducted. In their replies, the over 1,800 participants – which only somewhat represent the general population – exceeded the theoretically calculated potential for a bicycle rental system in the city of Salzburg. 73% of the survey participants said they would want to use the rental system. It was encouraging to see also people currently not primarily using the bicycle showed a definite willingness to make use of the system. In the course of the survey the participants were also invited to mark their preferred locations for the bicycle rental system on an online map. This way over 7,500 proposals for potential locations were collected and can be included in the location planning for the rental stations at a later stage.


Preferred locations for the bicycle rental system (result of an open online survey)

Based on the analysed potential the station network was planned in several phases. Expert opinions were successfully combined with spatial analysis. This made it possible to show the modeled usage potential and the quality of the environment for each individual station in an interactive web-based map. This allows a view on a wealth of data and information that can be intuitively operated and helps in making decisions.

The realization of the bicycle rental system in Salzburg is intended to take place in several stages. Over the course of the next year the first 40 to 50 stations with around 500 bicycles in total will become operational. Extensions into the outskirts of the city are quite possible over the coming years.

For questions regarding the study please contact Information on the bicycle rental system can be requested from the authorities that commissioned the study Magistrat Salzburg and Salzburg AG.


Safetydock® offers a technical alternative for bike sharing on a smaller scale. The rental, parking and charging station for bicycles and e-cars was developed by Innovametall and can be operated via a chip card. Safetydock® locations can be searched and booked via smartphone.

Posted on April 27, 2017