Over the past few months, the proliferation of bicycles, electric scooters and a variety of personal and shareable mobility options has washed over cities in America.
Transportation Network Companies (TNCs) such as Uber and Lyft have successfully commoditized every individual trip on the roads that we citizens pay for through our taxes.
Advances in open-source technology, low cost location sensing technology and a spirit to empower local communities can enable a low-cost, peer-to-peer bike sharing network across the city.
Applied Research in Government Operations (ARGO) is a non-profit with a proven track record of delivering urban technology. ARGO is staffed by technologists driven by a purpose to empower cities and communities using technology.
ARGO is proposing that Grand Rapids can implement and operate their own home-grown bike sharing network by developing a simple hardware kit and a simple mobile app to let Grand Rapids residents to share each other's bikes.
Any Grand Rapids resident who wants share their bike can apply to the program. Upon application, they will receive a hardware kit that includes:
- An internet connected bike lock or one that can be unlocked with a bluetooth connection.
- A low-cost location sensing system.
- A bike generator (for power) that sends the bike's location every 30 seconds.
The resident will also receive a login for the system's mobile app to add details about their bike and include it on the network.
- Upon verification and activation, the bike is ready to be shared.
- Key features of this approach:
- As the bike gets used, residents can earn income from their bike.
- The data generated by the system can be used by the city to create incentives for bike owners who are located in areas not served by public transit.
- A citizen who shares an electric bike can make more income.
- Can either pay for the ride on the app or be a monthly subscriber
- Opens the app and search for available bikes around them.
- Upon reserving the bike, they approach the bike to unlock it.
- After the reservation expires, the bike should be locked at the destination.
- Any violations are paid to the owner.
Any repairs for the bike can be paid for by the city using a simple voucher system that can be used at any participating bike shops across the city.