The sensitivity analysis shows that the environmental impact of autonomous shared bicycles will mainly depend on the levels of use and infrastructure. In addition, other design variables such as increasing vehicle lifetime and reducing the components needed for autonomous driving will also significantly reduce the environmental impacts of autonomous shared bicycles. The improvement in the environmental performance of autonomous shared bikes over current systems becomes especially significant when accounting for the displaced mobility modes. Currently, most bike-share trips substitute walking, private bikes, or new trips induced by the BSS. Therefore, it will be critical to consider that, as other mobility modes decarbonize and become more efficient, shared bicycle systems should focus on targeting mode replacement from more polluting modes.
We hope that by identifying the parameters that have the most significant influence on the environmental impacts of autonomous shared bikes, this study will assist vehicle design engineers, system operators, urban planners, and governments in their respective decision-making processes. As these systems are further developed, we expect the insights from this study to help prioritize the data gathering of the most critical variables from a sustainability perspective. As more data becomes available on how these systems will behave, reducing the uncertainties described in this study, their environmental impacts should be reevaluated.