Archive for the ‘bikes’ Category

Bixi in London Data analysis

A clever developer has come up with a very good analysis tool of the usage patterns of the London Bixi bikes that started about two weeks ago


(each second is one hour starting at 0:00 = midnight)

This real-time data was captured each hour by James Chesire from the data generated by Oliver O’Brien at University College London. He used the real-time data from Transport for London real-time data to develop an real time view of bike/dock availability in London
The color mapping more easily allows you to see how the bikes move from the outskirts to the city centre and back again over the course of a day. The bike docks at the mainline stations are particularly affected by this effect.   Only a small percentage of travelers on a train need to use Bixi to completely saturate the system which seems to be one of the major problems of the system in its first few weeks of operation.

Yonah Freemark has a much better analysis than me on his blog

Blog entry of the Oliver O’Brien that developed the app

Real time View

Is there anything like this in Montreal other than the Google overlay apps that require you to click on each dock to see the status?

Toronto to get Bixi?

The Public works and Infrastructure committee of the city council of Toronto will vote on April 20 to accept the deal that the city staff had negotiated with the Bixi.
If the vote is passed, 1000 new Bixi’s will be rolling on the streets of Toronto in the summer of 2011.

In reading this document, some interesting details come out:

  • For a project of 1000 bikes and 80 bike stations, an initial outlay of 4.8 M$ is necessary.  Montreal spent 15 M$ for 3000 bikes in phase I plus another 7 M$ for 2000 extra bikes in Phase II
  • The yearly operating costs are anticipated to be 1.2M$.  I think Montreal’s 15 M$ and 7M$ include the operating costs.
  • Approximately 1% of bikes are expected to be vandalized beyond repair per year.  Montreal’s first year number was 125 bikes (phase I,  in Montreal had 3000 bikes = 4%)

Numbers for Montreal’s first year of operation:

  • 11000 subscribers * 78 $ = 858,000$
  • 113000 single day users * 5$ = 565,000$
  • Usage costs = ?? (no info about this)
  • 60% of the single day users were tourists!

Toronto reports:

As far as I know, this kind of information is NOT available to the public in Montreal.   Generally you have to go the the council meeting to look at a binder that has the information.  There is no web site that archives this material.  You need to file an access to information request to get it.

Update May 15, 2010 – Bixi approved for a 2011 launch!

Bixi Tracking

Last February, Bixi announced that it had been chosen for the public bike project in Minneapolis and Melbourne. Bixi will now be on 3 continents!

Short comparison of the current Bixi systems:

City Bikes Stations Bike docks

Ratio of bikes / docks

Montreal (phase I + II) 5000 400 7800 assume 65%
Boston 2500 290 3750 67%
London 6000 400 10000 60%
Melbourne 610 52 1000 61%
Minneapolis 1000 75 1300 77%
Toronto (2011) 1000 80 1500 66%
Washington DC (fall 2010) 1100 114 1700 assume 65%
Univ of Washington(fall 2010) 30 3 45 assume 65%

If we use the average ratio of 65% there are 7800 bike docks in Montréal. (Italics are calculated numbers – not provided in press releases)

According to this document (7MB download), New York city is talking about a project with 10000 bikes in the first phase (Manhattan below 60th street & parts of Brooklyn).  If this first phase is successful, it could be expanded to 49000 bikes in all boroughs except Staten Island.

The report seems to favour the Bixi technology for several reasons:

  • Since excavation of streets to install the bike station is not needed, the capital costs are lower.
  • No need for hydro hook up since the stations are solar powered (the smart bike stations in Washington DC have a electricity meter on a pole next to each bike station)
  • Flexibility to move stations around to allow for special events
  • Stations are expandable to add or remove bike docks as needed

Although a lot of attention is paid to the visible aspects of the system, equally important to the success of the system is the back end information systems to make sure:

  • Customers don’t get overcharged
  • Bikes don’t get lost or stolen
  • Sufficient bikes are available where and when people want them
  • Sufficient bikes docks are available where and when people want them
  • Technical support via multiple technologies (email / phone)

Kudos to:

The choice of using the existing Stationnement de Montréal infrastructure (which is provided by 8D technologies) has allowed Montréal to really demonstrate its savoir-faire (and to win an award!)

If only Bixi could expand to NDG!  Then I might sign up for it.  Will it be cheaper in 2010? The answer is unfortunately No.  But you can get a 10$ discount on the yearly subscription if you sign up before May 15th.

UPDATE: April 14/2010: Bixi is recommended by the City of Toronto staff.

UPDATE: May 15, 2010: Bixi approved by the city of Toronto’s council for a 2011 launch.

UPDATE: May 21, 2010: Bixi going to two Washingtons

Bixi Chosen by London & Boston

Montreal’s Bixi bike system has been selected as the technology to use for the bike sharing programs what will be implemented in Boston and London.

London will have 6000 bikes distributed over 9 districts
Boston will use Montreal’s call centre.  Luckily, for the success of the system, helmets are only mandatory for children under 16 in Massachusetts.

Some of the announcements:
The Gazette
Transport for London
Boston Announcement

There are competitors to our bixi however :
B-cycle has a pilot system in Denver

Here’s a very favorable review in the Boston Globe

Bike share seems to be sweeping over the continent!

Sneek Peek at the NDG-CDN Bike Path Proposal

Although the NDG bike path will be publicly announced on June 19th, a look at the city’s official ‘Plan de Transport’ (approved on June 11th) gives a sneek peek.

Here are the main projects for the NDG area (there are others for CDN as well):

NDG bike paths

1. Complete the de Maisonneuve bike path from DeCarie to Claremount to travel through Westmount.

  • The CHUM mega-hospital project needs to start and the CP Decarie overpass needs to be modified.  This won’t be ready until at least 2010.

2. Cavendish from de Maisonneuve to St-Laurent

  • Requires the Cavendish over pass to be completed before it can go further than Cote-St-Luc

3. From Concordia North on W. Broadway until Fielding and then east until Ellerdale and then to Isabella to eventually arrive at UdeM.

  • Can be implemented now

4. Terrebonne from Concordia University to Girouard.

  • Can be implemented now

5. Grand Blvd (not 100% sure but it makes sense since it is so wide) up from de-Maisoneuve until Fielding

  • Can be implemented now

6. Girouard (& Clanranald/Earnscliffe) from de Maisonneuve all the way up to Ferncroft where it turns east to use Barclay/Plamondon until Wilderton.

  • Can be implemented now

The full map can be seen on page 107 of (this link)  (40MB download – high quality maps)

The other question is what kind of paths will they be?  Here are four types with their evaluation according to Projet Montreal (page 26 of this document)

Bike path Comparison

Happy Cycling!

UPDATE (July 1): The official Presentation from the City
Avid Cyclist Peter McQueen of Projet Montreal has his comments

We Need Bike Storage Lockers at Metro Stations

Many people never even think to ride their bike to the metro because they don’t think that the storage lockers are safe. Bicycle lockers could be used to allow people to make part of their commuting trip by bike.

Translink in Vancouver uses bike lockers like these that seem to work quite well.

Bike Lockers in use in Vancouver

Admittedly, the lockers would be significantly less used in the winter but perhaps with a bit of encouragement (reseau blanc) people would use them.

How it works:

  1. You inquire if there are available lockers at the metro (or other location) where you want to store your bike.
  2. If there is space available, you can sign up for the use of the locker on a seasonal or monthly basis.
  3. You get a key and a dedicated and secure parking space (covered) for your bike (and all your expensive accessories) whenever you want it.
  4. Once the rental contract is over, the lock is changed by the transit operator and a new renter can use the space.

The idea is in the Plan de Transport (page 82) and works well in Vancouver!