Dockless bicycle hire is a distinctive disruptive innovation that is spreading with great speed and intensity, triggering various questions about the need for regulation of this new mobility service in UK cities. The project will examine whether a regulatory framework should be applied; at what spatial scale regulation should operate, and what specific regulations are most appropriate for dockless bike sharing schemes. It will also explore the wider issues and challenges in reconciling innovation and regulation, and act as a forum for stakeholders in discussing how dockless bicycle hire can be regulated in an efficient, fair, and open manner. The project will employ three case studies, which have been chosen specifically for their contrasting methods of regulation. These are a restrictive regime in Manchester/Salford; a prohibiting authority in Transport for the West Midlands; and a facilitator in Oxfordshire County Council. This will enable us to make a comparative study that can provide vital insights into the strengths and weaknesses of different regulatory frameworks.

The outcomes will focus particularly on discovering workable solutions to the major problem of how to regulate the disruptive innovation of dockless bicycle hire. The project will also advance the debate on the role of dockless bicycle hire in wider transport systems, and the relationships with established transport operators. It is intended that the results will be widely disseminated to stakeholders, and that the project can provide practical guidance to the sector on the potentialities for effective regulation, together with insights into wider questions of how disruptive innovations are disseminated, and the economic, political, and social impacts.