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The future: Fourth generation Bike Sharing

Bike
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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Most 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 these issues.
                    
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.
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