What Will it Take to Better Balance Bike Share Systems?

As we've noted here, some of the most popular bike share systems have been victims of their own success, with high use docking stations often full or empty - depending on the time of day. Henry Grabar examines efforts to automate the rebalancing act.

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?

Full Story: Bike shares can be perfect!: Solving the commuting algorithm


Brand new! Urban Grid City Collection

Each city has its own unique story. Commemorate where you came from or where you want to go.
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs is the only comprehensive ranking and listing of graduate urban planning programs available.
Starting at $24.95
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month

City Coasters

Hand-drawn engraved maps of your favorite neighborhoods are divided up across 4 coasters making each one unique.