How barriers and motivators can affect Mashhad citizens' usage of bicycle sharing system: a qualitative approach

Document Type: Case Study


Department of Geography, Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran


The purpose of the present study is to identify the motivators and the barriers of using Mashhad’s Bicycle Sharing System. Bicycle sharing systems (BSS) are carried out in different ways, so each system has specific features and conditions. The authors of this paper have used a qualitative approach with a thematic analysis method for an in-depth analysis of the motivators and barriers of Mashhad’s BSS. In this respect semi-structured interviews were conducted with three groups of users, non-users and experts. The number of the participants was 12, 18 and 8 individuals for each group respectively. In choosing the user and non-user participants, different districts and occupations have been kept in mind. Also in the interviews with experts and managers, Snowball Sampling has been adopted.
After reaching theoretical saturation, the factors have been categorized into 7 different groups of themes, including “cultural”, “environmental”, “economical”, “policy-making and planning”, “functional”, “infrastructure” and “comfort”. The results show that among non-users the complicated sign up process, lack of access to docking stations and lack of awareness about the program are the barriers of using Mashhad’s BSS. For users, program inefficiency and limited service hours were identified as barriers and environmental and health benefits as motivators. Finally, specialists and managers have pointed to factors such as policy-making, raising awareness, cultural education, improving infrastructure, more funding and modern planning to encourage the general public to use the BSS system.