London bike-share KTP puts pedal to the metal for the future of urban mobility
It may be difficult to see at first glance, but bike-sharing is as futuristic as autonomous vehicles and is essential to the future of mobility.
Not only does it help reduce carbon emission and congestion, it is also an affordable and flexible, not to mention healthy, transportation option for consumers.
It’s convenient too–anyone with a smartphone and credit card can use the service. The ‘as-needed’ service model is popular amongst urbanites for its seamless mobility and last-mile connectivity.
As the looming climate crisis continues to influence city planners everywhere, green transport options like bike-sharing are fast becoming a critical feature of sustainable city designs.
Considering the landscape, bike-sharing seems to be a straightforward, solid idea with great profit potential… until it isn’t.
Many of the once-hip, brightly-coloured bikes of China’s Ofo and Singapore’s oBike are now in bicycle graveyards thanks to the lack of consumer behaviour insights amongst other things.
But the bike-sharing dream and the pursuit of sustainable cities are far from over. According to a 2018 Roland Berger report, the bike-sharing market is estimated to reach approximately £7.1 billion by 2021. In contrast, it was just at £3.2 billion in 2017.
The technology is already here but requires further refinement via research data to translate popularity to profitability, and bring real sustainability to urban settings.
Towards that end, City, University of London this week announced a new knowledge transfer partnership with bike-sharing company Beryl.
The plan is for City scholars to gather and analyse bike usage data to generate deeper insights and develop more sustainable business models.
Data captured on the bikes will be investigated by scholars within the urban context to identify all the right adjustments necessary for the bike-sharing economy to flourish.
With data-driven consumer insights, investment risks will be minimised for bike-sharing service providers. This can help prevent more incidents of bikes piling into bicycle graveyards.
Beryl has always been trying to make use of data on how its consumers move around.
“What we’re most excited about is using that data to influence cities and help cities understand how to plan for cycling infrastructure,” Beryl Founder Emily Brooke said.
With the £287,000 research grant support from Innovate UK for the KTP, Beryl will be able to make more meaningful connections of the data with the help of academic experts.
The collaboration will be led by the City’s Department of Mathematics Senior Lecturer Dr Andrea Baronchelli and Department of Computer Science Senior Lecturer Dr Chris Child as well as leading data scientist in urban mobility Dr Soumya Dasgupta.
Innovate is a research and innovation agency that aims to accelerate UK’s economic growth via innovations.