Business Biking in Croydon

Sponsor: London Borough of Croydon 2014-06-03 15.20.14-1
Sponsor Liaison: Peter McDonald
Student Team: Jason Klein, Shuhan Liu, Kevin Lynch, Alex Manternach
Abstract: Our team created guidelines and recommendations for the development of a bike sharing program for the Croydon Council. We researched best practices at London bike share schemes, evaluated the Council’s bicycle sharing potential, and designed promotional materials. Our recommendations focused on how to proceed in the short-term, with regard to safety and liability, awareness and promotion, and bike registration. We also included long-term recommendations on cycling culture in Croydon, bicycling infrastructure improvements, and additions to pool bike facilities.
Link: Business_Biking_in_Croydon

Executive Summary

In 2010, The Mayor’s Transport Strategy was released by Transport for London, a government agency dedicated to improving transportation in London. The strategy sets out several initiatives to promote London’s transport over the next 20 years, including enhancing residential quality of life and reducing the city’s impact on the environment. It also focuses on the transport objectives of London’s respective boroughs and how they can achieve the same at a local level, stressing that the boroughs should identify key connections between local centers and other forms of transportation, such as bus and Tube stations. As London begins to improve its cycling culture, many Boroughs are looking for ways to increase bicycle usage. One such Borough is Croydon, where its government Council is seeking to establish a pool bike program. Currently, the Council has been using Zipcars as a reliable mode of transportation for council staff. The Council believes that a pool bike scheme would reduce the number of trips that people take with Zipcars. This reduction would improve air quality and the health of Council staff members, while reducing transportation costs. As the Council began to research a possible pool bike scheme, a series of issues emerged with translating theory into practice. The Borough of Croydon faced the problem of how to make a bicycle sharing program work efficiently, safely, and economically. There were many logistical barriers to overcome such as facility access, administration of the program, and liability and insurance needs. Our goal for this project was to work with the Croydon Council to create guidelines and recommendations for developing a bike-sharing program for the Council staff.


To accomplish our goal we completed the following objectives: (1) Research best practices in London bike share schemes; (2) Evaluate the Croydon Council bicycle share potential; and (3) Design innovative and creative materials bringing attention to the new program. To complete our first objective, we researched three best practice bike sharing programs in London to evaluate how they functioned and to determine what factors led to their success. We visited the Ealing and Lewisham Council’s programs, as well as one at Better Bankside, a non-profit organization. We conducted site assessments and semi-standardized interviews to learn general information, understand user experience, and to evaluate how they manage the liability and safety of the schemes. We also noted unique aspects of each program such as the loan process, promoting cycling, and problems that have occurred. In accordance with our second objective, our team evaluated the bicycle share potential of the Croydon Council. By touring the Council’s facilities and participating in a tour of the Croydon Borough, we identified the current capacity for a pool bike scheme and the feasibility of cycling in the Borough. We also interviewed two potential staff user groups of the pool bike scheme to understand possible concerns and to develop further suggestions to improve our design. Finally, to meet our third objective, we created promotional materials such as a brochure and numerous posters with information regarding the pool bicycle scheme. This information was displayed in the Council to create awareness about the program during “World Environmental Day,” an event to promote environmentally friendly behaviors. In addition to the advertisement, our team created registration forms that are posted on our new pool bike scheme intranet page. These forms will be used to register a staff member for the scheme and provide information on the program’s insurance coverage and liability.

Results and Discussion

Research best practice in London bike share schemes

After conducting site assessments and semi-standardized interviews with the Ealing and Lewisham Councils as well as the non-profit community organization Better Bankside, we made observations on user experience and liability and safety of the schemes. Some of these details include methods that these Councils used for registration, bicycle booking, and administration of the program. We discovered that Ealing Council uses Outlook as a bicycle-booking tool. Meanwhile Lewisham is also considering the platform, but worries about its dependability. We also identified differences between the two programs in terms of their insurance coverage. Tradeoffs were also discussed, one being, is it worth it to improve safety conditions with mandatory helmet and cycling training at the cost of less pool bike users. Other features observed included gate access, facilities, and the types of bicycles used by each scheme.

Evaluate the capacity at Croydon for a bicycle-sharing program

Our research on best practice bike share schemes helped in the assessment of the Croydon Council cycling capacity. We looked for specific elements of successful programs such as proper shower facilities and a simple bicycle booking process in Croydon. The Council facilities were excellent as the new building was constructed with cycling in mind. Shower facilities are clean and are conveniently located next to the Sheffield stands. Problems discovered during our evaluation included limited access to basement facilities, a shortage of lockers, and an automatic gate to the street that only opened for automobiles.

Design innovative promotional materials

Our team produced promotional materials in order to bring attention to the new scheme and aid in its adoption. During World Environmental Day, we displayed these materials to raise awareness for our program.  As well, we advertised free cycling confidence lessons provided at the Croydon Arena. The promotional materials included a brochure and numerous posters.

Recommendations and Conclusion

After researching best practices in London bike share schemes, evaluating the capacity for cycling at the Croydon Council, and designing promotional materials, our team developed recommendations for the establishment of a Council staff business biking scheme. The recommendations were divided into two main categories, which included short-term and long-term recommendations, that each held specific subcategories.

Short-Term Recommendations

Our short-term recommendations offer a guideline to the establishment of a pool bike scheme for the Croydon Council. They focused on three management strategies: user experience, safety and liability, and awareness through promotional material. There were several recommendations made to improve user experience for the Croydon pool bike scheme. Detailed suggestions were formed regarding program registration, facility access, key management, the bicycle booking system, and information posters. For the registration process of our new program we recommend putting all registration forms on the intranet. By having these forms in one place the process will be simple. Also, when completing the pre-registration document by selecting certain options automatic emails will be sent to give access to the facilities and request a free helmet. We also suggest 1st floor concierge holds the bicycle keys and that Outlook is used as an online booking system. The second management strategy concerns safety and liability. In order to finalize the pool bike scheme, safety requirements and liability coverage details should be determined. Detailed recommendations on equipment availability, maintenance, emergency planning, liability forms, and cycling training were provided. To raise awareness to the new program our team designed an advert campaign consisting of posters, a brochure, and an intranet webpage. We recommend the images in Appendix G.

Long-Term Recommendations

Our long-term recommendations focus on ways to streamline the new pool bike scheme and to increase the cycling culture in Croydon. These suggestions are divided into three topics: Croydon cycling culture, bicycle options, and facility improvements. After researching London best practice pool bike schemes, additional measures to improve cycling culture were discovered. One effective way to increase cycling not only in the Council, but also in the Borough as a whole, is to have a cycle loan program for anyone that lives, works, or studies in Croydon. This loan program would be provided at the mere cost of ten pounds a month. Another recommendation is to encourage the use of smart phone applications, such as the Hackney Mobile app, to record miles biked and display safe cycling routes. Finally, in order to increase the safety of cycling in Croydon, we recommended infrastructure improvements such as cycle lanes and semi-segregated lines. Our team also recommended long-term improvements that are not necessary to start the program but could be used to further improve it. If there is a program expansion, we believe Brompton (folding) bicycles should be used. After assessing the Ealing Council, which operates a Brompton bike scheme, the potential for folding bikes and their ability to be used in conjunction with public transport were made apparent. Issues such as long distance travel and what to do in the event of a breakdown could be resolved by taking the folding bikes onto a bus or tram. Another future improvement would be the use of Spybike GPS. This technology is attached to the bike and notifies the user if the bike is being moved after being locked up, preventing theft. To further improve the Council cycling facilities, our team made suggestions to improve safety. These suggestions are not mandatory to establish the pool bike scheme, but can be used to improve the program in the long-term. First, signage and a convex mirror should be placed where the driveway meets the street to warn drivers of cyclists exiting the Council. Additionally, to ensure proper maintenance of the pool bikes, an in-house repair service could be offered. Finally, more lockers would need to be added to the facilities in order to expand cycling capacity. The lockers are currently limited and staff must be waitlisted to receive one.


In conclusion, developing a pool bike scheme requires considerable planning and preparation. We used site assessments and interviews of best practice pool bike programs in combination with an evaluation of the Council’s facilities to provide recommendations on the establishment of a pool bike scheme. Cycling is not merely a form of transport, but is also a great way to improve one’s health while helping the environment and limiting transport fees. Our recommendations, based on our research, were mainly focused upon establishing guidelines towards the implementation of a pool bike scheme. However, we also sought to raise awareness to the benefits of cycling, as well as provide insight on future improvements to the pool bike program and cycling in Croydon as a whole.