The future: Fourth generation Bike Sharing
Sharing programs work quite well in a lot of cities all over the world.
As the systems grow and get more users there are issues:
- Space for the bikes is limited especially at night when only a
few people use the bikes. The bikes are parked at valuable spots in
cities and the available space limits grow opportunities.
- Redistribution: It is necessary to redistribute the bikes over
the stations all the time to prevent empty (and full) stations.The
redistribution cost are enormous and increasing.
shared bikes are not provided with a lock, so it is not possible to go
where you want to go. Users have to bike from one bike station strait
to an other station. In low density areas (like the suburbs in
Melbourne) it is impossible to have a bike station close to all
destinations. In my opinion Fourth generation bike sharing will be a
combination of the rack based systems (like Paris) and community based
systems (like OV-fiets in the Netherlands and Common Bike in
Melbourne). Bikes will have own (possibly electronic) locks, that gives
the users the freedom to go and park the bike wherever they want.
Those problems will limit the opportunities to grow for bike sharing. In the
Netherlands and Australia we work on a 4th generation Bike Sharing system to solve
As Melbourne is not the first city to have bike sharing, there are lot
of opportunities to learn from al the existing systems. Melbourne can
make a big leap and come up with a very modern system that tackles the
issues that arose in Paris and other cities.