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What a Bikesharing Program Should Look Like

open bike square

Amidst all the hubbub surrounding the Copenhagen climate summit, the city has announced the winning schemes in a contest to reimagine its famous bike-sharing program. Two concepts took first place out of 127 entries from five continents: OPEN, designed by Michael Koucky at LOTS and Green Idea Factory
of Berlin; and MyLoop, by Thomas Coulbeaut.

open bike dog

The OPEN concept attempts to solve the two biggest problems of bike-sharing programs: bike availability and bike security. Users would have to first register a credit card to get access to the bikes. Then, they’d be issued an RFID card which unlocks a bike. The bike itself is loaded with location-aware GSM chips, which in turn broadcast the location and rental status of a bike back to a central management system. [eds. note: Zipcar for bikes!] The electronics would be powered by a small hub generator.

open bike smart card

That central management system then handles all the billing, based on when you checked the bike out and checked it back in. It would also allow you to text the system to find a bike near you; when it locates one, it would make it’s blinkers turn off and on, so you could easily find it:

open bike ipod

Meanwhile, MyLoop is a very similar concept, relying on a central system, user registration, smart cards, and bikes loaded with GPS. The main difference is the locking system. Coulbeaut imagines something very much like the current system, where a bike station has integrated locks, and a charging system for the bike’s electronics:

MyLoop

MyLoop

Copenhagen is eager to upgrade its bike-sharing system, which hasn’t
changed much since its inception, in 1995. The concept won’t be
skipping to production. However, as TreeHugger reports,
the contest judges say the city will cherry-pick ideas from the
various concepts, and then integrate them into a future bike-sharing
system.

[Via CPH Bike-Share Competition. Pics of OPEN via David Reports.]CK