Final Report: On-Bike Automated Bike Share System

EPA Grant Number: SU834706
Title: On-Bike Automated Bike Share System
Investigators: Bras, Bert , Shen, Alice , Pantev, Anton , Azevedo, Kyle , Doshi, Siddharth , Romaniw, Yuriy
Institution: Georgia Institute of Technology
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Phase: I
Project Period: August 15, 2010 through August 14, 2011
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2010) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , P3 Challenge Area - Energy , P3 Awards , Sustainability

Objective:

The Georgia Tech Bike-share (GTB) system is a unique transit solution that creates a smart, distributed bike-share infrastructure. Our system eliminates the need for stationary bike racks and kiosks; decreasing costs, increasing bicycle usage, and maximizing energy and emissions reductions.

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

The Phase I proposal had the stated goal of researching “solutions that will allow more flexibility in designing the overall system, have better and more accurate data collection,” and to improve overall performance. To achieve this goal several steps were taken. First, the unique requirements of a bike share system were determined, and then design constraints were derived from these requirements. Next, a thorough survey of available wireless technology was performed. Based on these findings, several promising options were procured and tested against the unique requirements of the project. Finally, the best option was developed and implemented.

Server-side functionality was also improved. Support for multiple clients on a single back end was developed. This allows operations for programs with different characteristics, such as universities or urban regions with varying payment structures, to function on the same server. The modularity of data is improved to allow for easy development of user interfaces. Fault tolerance has been improved overall thanks to more robust data handling to reduce failures and increase uptime.

The end result of this work is a significant improvement in data speed and reliability; a crucial step for an advanced bike-share system like the GTB. After completing Phase I work, data packets were reduced from around 600 bytes per transaction down to 20 bytes per transaction. This is very significant because it reduces costs of operation thanks to smaller data requirements on wireless networks.

Conclusions:

The goals set out by Phase I have successfully been completed with improved wirelesscommunication hardware tested, developed, and ready for implementation. Achieving these goals required mechanical, electrical, and computer engineering efforts, as well as significant design work and careful project management. Every team member made significant contributions in accomplishing Phase I, and continues to work to further improve every aspect of the bike-share system. During this time significant work has also gone into developing relationships to prepare for multiple pilot programs and promote cleaner forms of transportation.

Testing of our improved technology in pilot programs are on track. The data gathering and analysis associated with the pilot programs will serve to accurately quantify the benefits of the new technology to regional energy-use and emissions, and will work toward advancing research on distributed information infrastructures. With one program secured, and a second larger program being negotiated, methods for how to best implement bike sharing in the United States can be investigated. The unique transportation challenges of America’s urban landscapes will be better understood.

Supplemental Keywords:

Bike sharing, sustainable development, land use, urban planning, sustainable mobility, public transportation

Relevant Websites:

bikesharing made simple Exit
Midtown Alliance Exit