Clever bike share management increases bike share availability and usability and reduces operating costs, adding to scheme sustainability.
We had some interesting details through a couple of days ago from London based Stage Intelligence who are logistics experts and have successfully sold their artificial intelligence based bike share management product BICO to scheme operators in a number of countries.
Tom Nutley, Stage’s head of operations, has now shared data on bike share schemes in London, Paris, New York and Chicago.
The data reveals Chicago and London leading the group with an average usability figure for the quarter of 99.3% and 99.4% respectively. Chicago has been consistent in delivering a reliable Bike Share Scheme to its riders. London is also rated highly but this could indicate over servicing its market, which can create unnecessary costs and limit growth.
New York City ranks the lowest of the major cities with an average usability figure of 90.2% for the quarter. It means that on average 10% of riders at any given time cannot access the bikes or docking stations they want. Paris follows New York City with an average usability of 98.1% with usability dipping to lows of 76.7%. The inconsistency in the scheme means that it may be difficult for riders to depend on the scheme on a daily basis.
Tom confirmed “Bike Share riders and cities benefit from Schemes that are easy and reliable to use. Operators need to make sure that riders have access to bikes when and where they need them without over servicing the market. This is where the London scheme could be at most risk. The data is very positive for London but it could be using too much city resources to manage its operations especially when there is no need to.”
Stage’s usability measure compares all docking stations that are within easy walking/cycling distance in a published 500m radius from each other, which can be altered by the BICO bike share management platform. The platform takes into account each city’s SLAs when measuring the usability of a Bike Share Scheme. A docking station is usable if there are bikes and docking points available at the station itself or at one or more of its neighbours. The BICO platform can also set custom usability defined by a specific threshold or the SLAs of different cities.
“For Bike Share schemes to be seen as a real, public transport solution and a smart answer to urban mobility, they need to work as good or better than existing public transport services,” said Paul Stratta, Director, at Platform for European Bicycle Sharing & Systems (PEBSS), an initiative from the ECF. “Nowadays people go to bus and railway stations expecting the services to be there, and for it to operate on time. It should be the same with Bike Share schemes. Collecting and analysing data allows Bike Share operators, and their city clients, to get a big picture of operations and understand where bike share can improve and how exactly to do it.”
The neighbourhood approach goes beyond the usual cluster and geographic data collection method which may be a sub-optimal approach – especially in larger schemes. It can identify if how well the Bike Share management is functioning and if it is over or under servicing the cities and its riders. The BICO bike share management platform is dynamic to each city and considers each city’s user patterns and prioritisation as well as the SLAs they operate under to measure the usability of Bike Share Schemes and provide valuable data for operators.
“Our BICO platform allows us to take a deep dive into individual Bike Share Schemes in different cities and neighbourhoods around the world and find ways to improve usability within them,” said Toni Kendall-Troughton, CEO at Stage Intelligence. “We were particularly impressed with Chicago’s Bike Share scheme which was performing well without over servicing its neighbourhoods or the market. It was consistent throughout the quarter with high usability figures and over-performed on busy summer weekends to meet the rise in demand.”