An online survey that was conducted in Switzerland came up with some interesting results. One can conclude that bike users want a quick, safe, secure and flexible bike parking solution and are willing to pay a fee. Going by the investment of a bike the monthly fee must lie below 1% of the price of a new bike.
It has been some time since my last blog entry. Having sort of hit some shifting sands, in the course of my work on the high-density bike park+share system that will safely stack and store up to 400 bikes, in the form of lack of financial wherewithal, I have looked at a solution for a small distributed bike park+share system that would have a floor area of 12 sqm.
Staying true to the concept of a combined bike park+share, the automated system would store around 10 bikes with controlled access. The solution is reliable, tested, flexible, overground, easily accessible and whose investment, calculations show, can be amortized in less than 4 years. In certain constellations with additional facilities and income sources the investment can be amortized well within 2 years. The need for additional services has been reflected in online surveys conducted in Switzerland and worldwide.
Market research shows no comparable solution is available today, so this could well be a problem solver that finds a market.
I took part recently in a competition, conducted by the William James Foundation in Washington D.C., with the High-density bike park & share concept. The submission did not win any prizes, but received some very positive feedback. Check out the presentation (a WMV file) here – William James Foundation 8th Annual Gathering & Finalist Presentations.
Now is the time, more than ever, for flexible and adaptive bike park & share solutions. High-Density Bike Park & Share is a perfect solution.
The William James Foundation for viable and sustainable business entrepreneurs.
Cars nowadays have GPS be it for navigation or as an anti-theft device. They can be programmed to lock up the vehicle remotely. Heard of thieves who have found the car seize up right on the road? No science fiction involved, as all that it involves is a programmed interface that will prevent the car being used beyond a certain geographical area.
Bikes, the human or perhaps battery-aided device, have an extremely vulnerable set up that makes them difficult to protect. Short of putting them in a closed space or locking up the whole bike, including all parts, with multiple chains and padlocks, they are generally prone to be stolen.
Passive RFID chips today have the ability to be used as part of an anti-theft set up. With fractal antennae and and external readers, they can be part of a surveillance system that can provide a fair level of security. Not that this frees one from taking elementary steps to prevent theft, such as locking up the bike securely, or even using a bike station.
I have been conducting an on-line survey. The respondents are generally keen on having a protected and secure bike parking system. The tentative figures that I have been able to put together shows that such a system will undoubtedly cover costs and could, under certain configurations, come up with a profit. The issue has been on the one hand the reluctance to pay for such use, by some, and on the other hand the lack of foresight among city planners, to ensure that such parking systems are spread around inner cities and are placed at major intersections, shopping complexes, railway stations etc.
The survey has now been closed. I’ll put up the results, once I’ve transcribed and translated a summary. To those who took part, thank you!
Insurance firms appear not to have latched on to the impact of safe and secure bike parking on theft and vandalism of bikes.
In the case of cars and other motorized vehicles, insurance premiums vary depending on where vehicles are parked, be they in garages or out in the open.
In the case of bicycles however, there has been no encouragement and/or premium plans that factor in this aspect. Insurance firms would profit from such differentiation, just as bike owners would reduce insurance premiums, if they were to use safe and secure bike parking facilities.
I have often heard about the flexibility of bikes enabling one to park the bike literally at the doorstep or at a lamppost. This solution works in some situations, but does not address the problems associated with this form of parking. Invariably, city planning authorities seem to address the paucity of bike parking space at railway stations. But this approach does not seem to concede that a bicyclist may not just want to park a bike at the railway station, but perhaps elsewhere in the city. Say at a shopping complex or at an office building. Car parking bays and lots seem to be automatically included in the planning process, but bikes have at times, as an afterthought, been given racks that are set up as an apology for a pressing need for safe and secure parking facilities.
Yes we do know, we would like to be as close as possible to where we are going, just as a motorist would like to do so with the car. But is that a long-lasting solution, with which a electric bike owner would be satisfied with?