Bike Sharing with RF-ID

The Portland City Council today approved a community bicycling sharing program.

Bike sharing allows users to check their rentals back in at any station in the city. RF-ID is used to identify bikes and riders. It will cost about $4 million, with $2 million from federal funds and $2 million from private investments.

The city would likely start with 75 stations and 750 bikes. One vendor candidate is Portland-based Alta Bicycle Share, which already runs networks in Washington, D.C., Boston and Melbourne, Australia. D.C.’s 40-employee Capital Bikeshare is about to expand with 32 new locations this fall. The bike-sharing network there has already grown to 13,000 members with access to 1,100 bikes at 110 stations, said Mia Birk, president of parent company Alta Planning & Design.

Capital Bikeshare uses a system designed by Montreal-based Bixi. Rental stations are fully automated and are powered by solar panels, allowing them to be located anywhere space is available. A RF-ID data link connects the docks and station kiosk while a cellular link connects to the bike-tracking and billing database. The bike docks communicate with the touch screen pay station, which is solar powered.

Denver’s B-cycle project, SmartBike and Ubicycle have similar RFID bike sharing technology. A user’s RFID card contain a passive low frequency RFID inlay, operating at 125 kHz. To unlock a bike, a user presses their card against an RFID reader, which relays their ID to a central B-cycle database to confirm the user’s account is in good standing. Then the bike is unlocked.

Capital Bikeshare website also has smartphone applications to see where rental stations are located and how many bikes are available.

Mayor Sam Adams has endorsed the bike sharing program. Metro, the regional government agency which distributes the federal funding, will have to sign off on the city’s plan.

Garmin Cycling Sensors include:

Here are the Top 10 Android Bike Apps and the Top 10 iPhone Bike Apps (which are waaay cheaper).

Oh, sure, it may be pie-in-the-sky, but why couldn’t solar-powered, Wi-Fi enabled, bus stops sprout $300 touch-screen tablets for an integrated transportation system.

White Spaces, say proponents, may soon provide a low-cost connectivity option. It might provide an intranet, closed-loop system or offer full internet connectivity. Bus stop wireless access might make money with location-based advertising. Perhaps a small implementation in a city like Portland or Seattle could test the viability.

Thin Film Solar is efficient while mobile hotspots are cheap. Just add batteries.

Related Dailywireless solar articles include; Bike Sharing Gets an App, Apps for The City, Augmented History, SOLARBrella Powers Laptops & Hotspots, Solar-powered WiFi Flowers, Solar WiFi Park Bench, Meraki: Wall Warts and Solar Power, Cell Towers Go Green with Renewables, Social Bikes, SF Gets Solar Wi-Fi Bus Shelters , Open Transit Apps Compared, How to Create Transit Applications, Social Bicycles: Cheaper Bike Sharing, Apps for The City, Phone Tracking: Hot Button Issue, WhereCampPDX Unconference, Augmented History, Public Safety 2.0, Everyone Can Create Mobile Apps!, Mobile Portland Demos, Developer Contests, Geo Tours,

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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