Deciphering the Scaling Laws and Spatial Structure in Urban Micro-mobility: Empirical Evidence from Bike-Sharing in Shanghai


  • Ph.D. student Kaichen Zhou College of Architecture and Urban Planning, Tongji University


Micro-mobility, bike-sharing, scaling laws, spatial clusters, Zip's law




Micro-mobility, epitomized by bicycles and other lightweight, low-speed vehicles, plays a pivotal role in enhancing urban mobility and offers a sustainable alternative to conventional transportation modes. A comprehensive understanding of such mobility and its spatial underpinnings is crucial for delving deeper into urban phenomena. Existing research on urban mobility has revealed a striking finding: the existence of scaling laws in urban mobility. While established studies have focused on the general displacement of urban mobility, the analysis of mobility for specific travel modes has not been thoroughly explored. Thus, this study focuses on exploring scaling laws and potential spatial mechanisms in micro-mobility. In this paper, we use bike-sharing datasets from Shanghai's central city to extract cycling trajectories and empirically analyze the universal laws in cycling movemenmt. We find that the relationship between cycling visitations and cycling distance as well as frequency at any location conforms to a power-law distribution. This pattern is mirrored in the relationship between cycling visitations and certain built environment attributes, such as street density and land use mix. Furthermore, spatial clustering analysis has brought to light spatial clusters associated with cycling visitations, exhibiting size distributions that align with Zipf's law, which revealing a complex and ordered spatial structure behind cycling visitations. These insights not only shed light on the potential feedback mechanisms between the self-organization of urban spatial structure and micro-mobility but also underscore the profound impact of micro-mobility on the dynamics in spatial structure. Our study significantly advances the theoretical discourse on the interplay between urban space and human mobility, highlighting the imperative to integrate the scaling laws of micro-mobility and spatial structure into land use and transportation planning.