Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The science of bike-sharing

Date:
January 31, 2011
Source:
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Summary:
Municipal "bike-sharing" is increasingly popular, but there have been growing pains -- partly because the projects have been so successful. Researchers are developing a software solution to improve the efficiency of this environmentally friendly transportation innovation.

A line up of bikes at a railway station in Belgium.
Credit: iStockphoto/Andrew Simpson

The new environmentally-friendly concept of municipal "bike-sharing" is taking over European cities like Paris, and American cities like New York are also looking into the idea. It allows a subscriber to "borrow" a bike from one of hundreds of locations in the city, use it, and return it to another location at the end of the journey. It's good for commuters and for running short errands.

While the idea is gaining speed and subscribers at the 400 locations around the world where it has been implemented, there have been growing pains -- partly because the projects have been so successful. About seven percent of the time, users aren't able to return a bike because the station at their journey's destination is full. And sometimes stations experience bike shortages, causing frustration with the system.

To solve the problem, Dr. Tal Raviv and Prof. Michal Tzur of Tel Aviv University's Department of Industrial Engineering are developing a mathematical model to lead to a software solution. "These stations are managed imperfectly, based on what the station managers see. They use their best guesses to move bikes to different locations around the city using trucks," explains Dr. Raviv. "There is no system for more scientifically managing the availability of bikes, creating dissatisfaction among users in popular parts of the city."

Their research was presented in November 2010 at the INFORMS 2010 annual meeting in Austin, Texas.

Biking with computers

An environmentalist, Dr. Raviv wants to see more cities in America adopt the bike-sharing system. In Paris alone, there are 1,700 pick-up and drop-off stations. In New York, there soon might be double or triple that amount, making the management of bike availability an extremely daunting task.

Dr. Raviv, Prof. Tzur and their students have created a mathematical model to predict which bike stations should be refilled or emptied -- and when that needs to happen. In small towns with 100 stations, mere manpower can suffice, they say. But anything more and it's really just a guessing game. A computer program will be more effective.

The researchers are the first to tackle bike-sharing system management using mathematical models and are currently developing a practical algorithmic solution. "Our research involves devising methods and algorithms to solve the routing and scheduling problems of the trucks that move fleets, as well as other operational and design challenges within this system," says Dr. Raviv.

For the built environment

The benefits of bike-sharing programs in any city are plentiful. They cut down traffic congestion and alleviate parking shortages; reduce air pollution and health effects such as asthma and bronchitis; promote fitness; and enable good complementary public transportation by allowing commuters to ride from and to train or bus stations.

Because of the low cost of implementing bike-sharing programs, cities can benefit without significant financial outlay. And in some cities today, bicycles are also the fastest form of transport during rush hour.

The city of Tel Aviv is now in the process of deploying a bike sharing system to ease transport around the city, and improve the quality of life for its residents. Tel Aviv University research is contributing to this plan, and the results will be used in a pilot site in Israel.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "The science of bike-sharing." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110131133325.htm>.
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. (2011, January 31). The science of bike-sharing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110131133325.htm
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "The science of bike-sharing." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110131133325.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Science & Society News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Emory Prepares to Treat American Ebola Cases

Emory Prepares to Treat American Ebola Cases

AP (Aug. 1, 2014) Plans are underway to bring back the two American aid workers sick with Ebola from Africa. The U.S. State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are helping to arrange the evacuation. (Aug. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Greenpeace Ship Arctic Sunrise Free to Leave Russia

Greenpeace Ship Arctic Sunrise Free to Leave Russia

AFP (Aug. 1, 2014) Greenpeace's ship Arctic Sunrise, held in custody by the Russian authorities since September last year, has departed the Russian city of Murmansk en route for its home port of Amsterdam. Duration: 01:04 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct

US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct

AP (Aug. 1, 2014) U.S. employers extended their hiring surge into July by adding a solid 209,000 jobs. It was the sixth straight month of job growth above 200,000, evidence that businesses are gradually shedding the caution that had marked the 5-year-old recovery. (Aug. 1) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

House Republicans Vote to Sue Obama Over Healthcare Law

Reuters - US Online Video (July 31, 2014) The Republican-led House of Representatives votes to sue President Obama, accusing him of overstepping his executive authority in making changes to the Affordable Care Act. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins