Rebalancing is the most crucial problem plaguing the world's steadily growing portfolio of urban bike share systems, writes Henry Grabar. "The solution is a fleet of trucks and vans that reposition bicycles from what academics call 'attractive' stations to 'repulsive' stations. On the one hand, this is ironic: Bike share is widely praised as a sustainable transit solution but requires the round-the-clock service of heavy vehicles to keep it primed for operation."
"But it’s a crucial element of a successful system. If bike share is to be taken seriously as a transit mode — and its staunchest supporters believe it is an indispensable tool in the planner’s arsenal — it must be able to meet the demands of professional life," he adds. "Every time a user is unable to find a bike or a place to park, the system’s reliability is jeopardized."
Can computerized tools and algorithms solve the problem?