With more than 700,000 people riding bikes everyday, the most populous metropolitan area in the world with 35 million people, greater Tokyo is facing a serious bicycle parking shortage. With the world's largest system of commuter trains and subways, Tokyo's bike parking deficit is especially acute around stations.
The city recently built a high-tech underground parking facility for bikes at one of its busiest stations. Commuters coming into the station can now push a button at one of the designated elevators, and when the door opens, they can trust their bicycle to a giant robotic hand that takes hold of the bike and takes it to the underground garage where it is safely parked and stored by machines. It takes approximately ten seconds for the bicycle to be returned to the commuter.
The cost to users is only $18 a month. The parking contains space for more than 9,000 bikes and is at full capacity almost daily. Since the project started there has been a 20% increase in neighborhood biking.
Thanks to Andrea Limauro