AI Is Getting Bike-Sharing On The Right Track In Smart Cities

Bike-Sharing system or bicycle-sharing system has been around since 1965 when a group called Provo introduced it in the bicycle-loving Amsterdam. But the idea of bike-sharing created a buzz only after the entry of smart city concept. It began to be recognised as an effective tool to reduce air pollution, traffic congestion, travel costs, and fossil fuel-dependency while improving public health. Besides, making cities look much more vibrant, cool and cosmopolitan.

However, launching a bike-sharing system in cities and over time making it an appealing mode of transportation is no easy feat. It requires a significant private and public investment and alterations to the built environment while understanding the needs of citizens. Many bike-sharing programs have been initiated amidst much hype yet their popularity has soon declined. They have ended up being used mainly on weekends and for recreation purpose.

There are a number of factors that lead to the failure of a bike-sharing system. But according to reports, the most impactful factors that discourage people from opting for it are dockless systems or systems that do not have adequate docks in a city. Dockless systems increase the risk of theft and vandalism while insufficient docking points make it difficult for riders to park the bike at a given dock and hence reducing the proper redistribution of bikes. If this single issue is resolved, bike-sharing programs can easily meet success and become an irresistible transport option in smart cities.

1 Comment

Tom Moran's picture
Tom Moran

While I agree dockless systems are the ideal I think dockless bike sharing has it’s place in the mix. I have used a number of systems that work very well, most recently the Donkey Republic bikes in Barcelona just this week. Since the Barcelona docked bike system does not allow non residents to rent bikes dockless was the only option. Myself and two other colleagues traveling on business were able to rent bikes for 12 EUR/day. While one of the bikes did need better maintenance the other two were in good shape. As a whole all three were much better than my experience with the Paris Velib (docked) bikes, which I have found to be in very poor condition almost every time I have used them.