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Improvements for high school student shared bicycle mobility

Concepts to promote information accessibility, ease of use and safety

Photo of Carlotta Pham
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High school students are at a unique stage in their lives as they transition from childhood to adulthood. This transition brings increasing independence. From a mobility standpoint, high school students may be limited to certain options such as bikes or public transit given the expenses and barriers to access of private car ownership or rideshares. 

This proposal focuses on a set of improvements to high school student bicycle mobility in the area surrounding the Michigan Central Station. The improvements to bicycle mobility promote information accessibility, ease of use, and safety. The recommendations are provided in the context of bikeshares (e.g. MoGo) as students may not have access to a private bicycle but could engage with the shared service. 

1. Information Kiosk – The interactive kiosk allows students to access event information, trip planning and bikeshare reservation services. A student may approach the kiosk on the high school campus to learn about community events taking place in the Corktown area at places such as the Michigan Central Station, Mexicantown Mercado, or other schools. The student can then select the event location and receive an indication of how many bikes are available at the nearest bikeshare and an overview of the bicycle route options that the student might take from his/her current location to the destination. Once the student has selected his/her preferred route, the student will have the option to reserve a bike from the bikeshare. The student can swipe his/her student ID to provide information needed for the reservation. When the student arrives at the bikeshare location, the student can retrieve the bike by swiping his/her student ID. 

2. Smart Navigation – Smart navigation devices on bikes guide students through their journey. The student’s selection of bicycle route from the kiosk will automatically be loaded into the smart navigation on the student’s bike reservation. The smart navigation system is an information driven GPS system. It provides verbal and visual instructions to navigate the student along his/her route. Additionally, the smart navigation system provides warnings to the student of upcoming road obstacles, potholes, change in terrain, or crowded intersections. 

3. Visibility Enhancements – Bikeshare bicycles will be outfitted with additional visual safety features. Reflective handlebar tape and tire lighting can be used to improve bike visibility for oncoming and cross traffic. These features can be particularly helpful during the winter and when there is limited lighting. 

Describe your solution's stage of development

  • Initial Design - you are still exploring the idea and have not tested it with users

Tell us about your team or organization (500 characters)

Caitlyn Brunner is pursuing her Master of Architecture at Taubman College at the University of Michigan. Carlotta Pham is pursuing a Master of Science from the School for Environment and Sustainability and a Masters in Business Administration from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan.

Size of your team or organization

  • 2-10

Are you submitting as a student team?

  • Yes

Are you submitting as a team from the Impact Area?

  • No

Funding Request

  • $50,000

Rough Budget (500 characters)

Information kiosk design, development, and infrastructure ~$45K | Bike lighting on wheels ~$1K | Reflective handlebar tape ~$4K

Describe how you would pilot your idea (1000 characters)

The pilot would cover a limited scope of the strategies recommended. First, the pilot would include the design, development, and deployment of an information kiosk in one location. Second, the pilot would implement the bike visibility enhancements of tire lighting and reflective handlebar tape. Our affiliation with the University of Michigan provides opportunities to partner with university resources to implement and test this idea. Academic programs such as the Computer Science and Engineering program could engage students who have the skills to design/develop the kiosk software and study the information use. We can also collaborate with non-academic programs such as the ArcPrep program that engages high school juniors from Detroit to involve local high school students in the pilot testing.

Describe how you would measure the success of your pilot (1000 characters)

To measure the success of the information kiosk, we can conduct student surveys and gather usage data. Student surveys would focus on identifying the features that students find useful, improve ease of use and increase student likelihood of using bicycle transit. Metrics about kiosk usage such as the number of students per day, functions most used/least used, number of bikeshare reservations made on the kiosk versus at the bikeshare station, and variation between recommended route and actual route can determine if the information kiosk is providing services that impact student mobility behaviors. To measure the success of the bicycle visibility enhancements, we can conduct a student survey to gain anecdotal evidence of realized and perceived safety.

Sustainability Plan (500 characters)

Further analysis is needed for funding the kiosk expansion and ongoing operation and maintenance costs. The kiosks could potentially generate revenue through data collection about high school student mobility preferences or promotion of sponsored ads. Additionally, costs student access the bikeshare should be considered. Ideally, students would have reduced/eliminated costs, perhaps through a community pass from a public-private partnership with bikeshare providers in the area (e.g. MoGo).

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Boratha Tan

Thanks for submitting your proposal Carlotta Pham . I am a facilitator in the City:One team. Per a student's desire for more independence, would it make more sense for the bicycles NOT be outfitted with a destination lock, since high school students would probably want to ride a bicycle for the sake of going to a friend's house, who then ends up going to downtown or something like that? Would there be bike stations at various locations for students to drop off the bicycles? Would there be a subscription service for students? Can students and their families also use the bike program?