Tartu, Photographer: Kerly Ilves

Tartu: Mapping of public bicycle locations completed

23 Oct 2017

This summer, residents of Tartu were invited to become actively involved in the planning of a public bicycle system. 247 people participated in the mapping of locations as well as the survey. As a result, a total of 2386 locations for possible public bicycle parking facilities were marked on the web map.

The most of the desired locations for bicycle parking facilities were located in the City Centre, for example in the vicinity of Town Hall Square, at the railway station and close to the bus station. Several popular locations are associated with educational institutions, with Tartu University Hospital, with larger shopping centres and the new Estonian National Museum building. 

The survey examined whether a well-functioning public bicycle system would cause people to give up driving cars, riding buses, walking or using their own bicycle. The answers indicate a positive effect: 28% of those who currently travel mainly by car were willing to give up doing so. In the case of bus riders, 24% were willing to begin riding bicycles instead of the bus. A total of 11% would give up riding their personal bicycles. 

Due to the survey, public bicycle system parking facilities could be regarded as good within an average distance of 536 metres from the place of residence or employment. A majority was ready to use the public bicycle system throughout the year: 25% of respondents would definitely do so, and 50% would be ‘more than likely to do so’. 

The survey also examined the influence of the costs on using the public bicycles. A total of 76% of respondents replied that the first 30 minutes of use of the public bicycle system should be free. Forty-three per cent of respondents were ready to spend EUR 5 per month, while 30% were willing to spend EUR 10 per month, and 11% replied that the service should be free of charge. The most popular method of payment proved to be the Tartu Bus Card (39%), followed by mobile telephone (32%) and bank card (23%). 

On the basis of the survey and the mapping process, the City of Tartu is implementing a public bicycle system in Tartu over the next two years, which comprises 600-800 rental bicycles and 60-80 rental stations located across the city. The goal is to shape the public bicycle system into a part of the public transportation system. Currently underway are preparations for the technical procurement for the public bicycle system. 

The public bicycle system is contributing to the holistic approach of SmartEnCity where the City of Tartu is developing an energy efficient city district based on smart solutions in the city centre. Among other solutions several mobility actions have been envisaged in the project together with planning the city wide public bicycle system in Tartu.