Solving Distribution Challenges in Bike Share Schemes

Effective distribution, in some of the best Bike Share Schemes, require immense amounts of citywide data to be captured, processed and used. Increasingly, schemes around the world are using city data to not only optimise its redistribution but to also show complete visibility to its users as to where the bikes are on its system map.

It’s how Bike Share Schemes use this data that drives value for operators, riders and cities. Bike Share Scheme operators are often familiar with rider statistics and patterns but the challenge is to use this data to accelerate growth within a scheme.

Tracking growth and stimulating growth are often two very different things. At the heart of new growth is rider experience. Bike Share Schemes are challenged to offer a consistent rider experience across a city while ensuring that using a Bike Share Scheme is easy, convenient and enjoyable for the rider. A positive and consistent Bike Share Scheme begins and ends with two questions:


  1. “Can I get a bike where I want one?”
  2. “Can I dock my bike at the end of my journey?”


If a Bike Share Scheme can guarantee these two things, it is likely that a rider will have a positive riding experience. When a rider can borrow a bike and dock it, they are more likely to use the scheme again and make it part of their routine.

That’s good for the Bike Share Scheme as it will help to grow overall ridership and new people will experience the city using shared bikes. A Bike Share Scheme with an active and growing ridership is able to invest and expand its schemes.

The data available in a city can be used to ensure that riders can access bikes and docks where and when they want them. Different days of the week, weather, events, seasons, local conditions and scenarios, and a whole range of criteria can shape how a Bike Share Scheme is used.

On a rare rainy day in Los Angeles, people may not cycle at all. In Amsterdam, there may only be a slight variance in usage patterns. At the same time, different events can be connected like a sunny day in a city, matched with a train drivers strike and major sporting event being held in one area of the city. All of these factors can influence how a scheme is functioning and where more or less bikes are needed.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can be an excellent tool for simplifying Bike Share Scheme operations while using the power of data to drive decision making. AI can process a variety of data both historically and in real-time
to deliver actionable insights for Bike Share Scheme operators. Operators gain visibility into all of the criteria shaping a cityscape and benefit from useful insights to optimise bike distribution to match changing conditions.

AI accelerates how decisions are made by operators while taking the guess work out of bike distribution. The AI technology can predict peak times up to 12 hours in advance, enabling operators to manage supply and meet requirements in those areas. This ultimately leads to bikes and docks being available and riders getting a better Bike Share experience.


To find out more about the role data and AI has on a Bike Share Scheme, read our full whitepaper on ‘How to Grow a Smart City Bike Share Scheme’


7 Benefits of an AI-Optimised Bike Share Scheme for Smart Cities

Smart Cities that have active and growing Bike Share Schemes create urban environments that are healthier, with less congestion and better placed to manage growing populations.

In 2016, 1.7 billion people or 23% of the world’s population lived in a city with at least 1 million inhabitants, according to the United Nations. By 2030, that will grow to 27%. Urbanisation is continuing to grow and that puts strain on transportation networks.

Public Transport in its current state is already stretched and cities are often challenged to fund new projects. With optimised Bike Share Schemes, cities can encourage citizens to cycle and avoid crowded transport systems.

As more Smart City initiatives are deployed, cities become data-rich environments that can benefit Bike Share Schemes. The emergence of the Internet of Things (IoT) and a growing number of connected devices deployed across a city will only expand the potential of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Bike Share Schemes and transportation overall.

Expanding data sets managed with AI can deliver results that directly benefit riders and influence how a city functions and grows.

All cities can benefit from an AI-driven Bike Share Scheme but as smart technologies are rolled out widely, the depth of data will grow. Operators benefit from new and increasingly precise insights while riders will see Bike Share Schemes optimised in new ways.

With AI, operators can ensure a well-run Bike Share Scheme that offers:


A Cleaner Transport Option:

For cities to help tackle climate change and deliver a better environment for citizens to live in


Healthier and Happier Riders:

Through daily exercise


Effective First & Last Mile Solution:

Since it can be significantly cheaper and faster than other public transport options for short distances


Reduced Strain on Infrastructure:

As less people are using public transport that requires continuous upkeep and maintenance


More Investment in Cities:

With less need for maintenance and new projects, Smart Cities can use funding on other much needed transport infrastructure such as cycling lanes and incentives


Manage Rising Transport Demand:

With increasing urban-dwellers, cities can offer more transport options with a Bike Share Scheme to accommodate this rise


City’s Brand Image:

Can be shaped by a cycling culture, supporting tourism and other thriving economic industries


Bike Share Schemes are like no other modes of transport. It offers a viable transportation option to many crowded cities that deliver a range of benefits to both cities and its citizens.

To find out more about the benefits of Bike Share Schemes to operators, cities and citizens, read our full white paper on ‘How to Grow a Smart City Bike Share Scheme’.