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Smarter Cycling: You Are What You Share

article by Konstantinos Stephanou

Today, 54% of the world’s population resides in urban areas, a proportion that is expected to 66% by 2050. For that reason, the planning of sustainable urbanization is a vital element to successful development. The way people commute around the cities is an integral part of everyday life, since it affects productivity, security, health and global warming, among other things. Based on World Economic Forum’s evidences (2017) plenty of cities all over the world including Paris, Brussels, Oslo, Madrid, London and Hamburg, have decided to reduce or ban diesel cars from their city centres within next years. Governments have acknowledged that conventional car-centric model will eventually lead cities to collapse due to the health implications and space management problems it causes.

A new era for urban mobility

The new era of personal transport in cities leads to two main options: sharing vehicles and driverless cars/busses. In a sharing economy electric transport means, such as scooters, bikes and three wheelers are changing the way we commute. Urban mobility of sharing vehicles is complex and needs to be multi-modal, meaning that sharing transport systems must be locally adapted. In other words, every city of this planet is unique, hence, it needs an ecosystem which can be adapted to the specific needs of this area. So, the question that arises is, how can we enable operators to manage their sharing fleets (private & public) in urban environments effectively?

Let’s look at what is happening in China right now where the sharing trend seems to thrive at the moment.

Over there, bike-sharing boom has put over 2 million of new bicycles on city streets originally designed for cars, and that’s causing a huge turbulence. The rise of bike-sharing schemes can be convenient, affordable, and healthier, but at the same time they have brought new challenges.

Unlike other sharing schemes around the world, China’s bicycles can be picked up and left anywhere, making them comfortable for users but frustrating for city authorities. One example is that Shanghai city government issued recently draft regulations for the bike-sharing economy and local transport authority has tried to restrain bike sharing companies from adding new bicycles in the city. The repercussion is that currently piles of hundreds of dumped bikes are blocking walkways and other public areas. Furthermore, the unregulated nature of the schemes means that missing parts of the bike, such as saddles or locks rendering the vehicles useless. Albeit cities are keen to implement station-less shared bikes because they help relieve traffic congestion, nevertheless, such schemes could soon meet with resistance from the scooter & automobile industry. How these challenges will be tackled and how this bike-sharing system will develop in this area is unknown.

Putting technology at the service of shared mobility

Right now, bike sharing notion is expanding in Europe with rapid pace. However, to avoid that kind of incidents we need to learn from other’s mistakes and be proactive. The rise and fall of bike-sharing industry is highly dependent on digital and ubiquitous tools which will be able to facilitate the efficient management of the fleet for the sake of the people. COMODULE, the global leader in IoT, with sincere interest of society’s welfare, has developed a full eco system which enables operators to launch free floating sharing networks. Through our system, fleet managers are able:

  • to monitor & control vehicles remotely,
  • GEO-locate the vehicles,
  • deter thefts,
  • collect diagnostic data about the health of each bike,
  • support users in real time and
  • detect crashes in case of accidents.

This all-inclusive system helps also users to: a) find the closest vehicle to them, b) navigate to their destination, c) get information about the battery status of the bike, d) make payments online and e) request instant help from the service provider, simply and conveniently!

Thereby, bike-sharing companies ought to identify their core business advantages and strengthen them through using this technology for the welfare of the communities, instead of focusing to achieve supremacy in the ongoing war of capital. The only path forward is for local governments to formulate a policy which imposes to each bike sharing scheme to be controlled through an advanced technological system. This sustainable system will help to keep the order in the city, ensure safety of the people and provide them support according to their needs. Everyone’s help is essential to fulfill this vision and make the cities a better place to live with respect to the citizens and the environment.

 

Konstantinos Stephanou is Business Developer at COMODULE, an IoT provider based in Berlin. Their aspiration is to create sustainable sharing solution systems for bike operators who will gratify the needs of the users. By the end of 2018, COMODULE will have successfully connected 35.000 bikes & scooters in 3 continents and 45 different countries.

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