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2018: A Tipping Point for Artificial Intelligence in Transportation

2018 will be the tipping point for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the transportation industry. It will be a year where AI becomes an essential tool with new understanding and recognition that it is critical to success. In our business and beyond, we’ve seen how influential this technology can be in changing business models and creating better transport solutions.

 

At Stage Intelligence, we’re seeing this become a reality. In 2017, we’ve seen tremendous momentum behind our business and growing demand for real AI solutions in transportation. We’re rolling out our AI-based Bike Share management solution in cities across the globe and changing the perception that Bike Share isn’t a viable, reliable transport option.

 

We are helping to accelerate transformation in transportation and utilising self-organising algorithms and elements of machine learning to simplify and empower Bike Share management.

 

2018: Challenges in AI

The future of transportation will be defined by AI. Research firm Gartner predicts that by 2020 almost every new software product will have AI technologies. In transportation, we are starting to see widespread application and development of AI technology that is being powered by the collection of data and use of algorithms.

 

That said, it is still a very young market with challenges ahead. I see three big challenges for AI in transportation:

 

  1. Not All “AI” is the Same – Many businesses that say they use AI don’t actually have it deployed. It is a buzzword and many businesses are doing data visualisations or pretty interfaces but when you look under the hood there’s nothing there. Operators eager to benefit from AI don’t get what they paid for and won’t see the best of it.

 

  1. Transportation Expertise and Focus – AI solutions need to address specific challenges. They need to be purpose built for transportation and developed by both experts in transportation and AI. Otherwise, you get generic solutions that solve generic problems rather than enabling real innovation and agility in transportation.

 

  1. Nurturing AI – AI isn’t just about building solutions. It is about training it and nurturing it to deliver the results you want. It requires people, time, effort and a lot of data to continuously maintain and develop the technology. You don’t just flip a switch. It requires an expert experienced in developing and growing successful solutions.

 

As we see more AI-based solutions adopted, there will be a move towards quality and performance. Solutions that are based more on buzzwords than results will fade away.

 

In 2018, more people will understand the basics of AI and make better decisions about the solutions they deploy. That’s good for transportation and will accelerate its growth.

 

Building Better Bike Share Schemes

We’ve seen tremendous growth in our business over the past year. In 2017, we deployed our solutions in new corners of the world.

 

Our business development team led by Tom Nutley was out and about at events and meetings almost on a monthly basis. We’ve been successful in sharing our belief in automated rebalancing and using self-organising algorithms to build better Bike Share Schemes and that has led to trials and deployments around the world.

 

Our flagship BICO Bike Share Scheme management platform has been adopted and is supporting ridership growth in unique markets in the Americas and Europe. In 2017, We added greater functionality to BICO including a successful internationalisation process that helped us to better serve our partners abroad and dynamic replenishment values for greater predictive management of a scheme. Both have made it easier for operators to deploy and benefit from our solution.

 

We are also proud to have partnered with industry bodies to accelerate transformation in Bike Share Schemes. We are a member of the platform for European Bicycle Sharing & Systems (PEBSS), created by European Cyclist’s Federation (ECF). Our work with ECF and PEBSS highlights our commitment to growing a healthier cycling market for all.

 

In November, our usability data was shared around the world and is influencing conversation about how to create Bike Share Schemes that give riders an optimised experience. We are sharing our data and analytics to show what is possible in Bike Share when you take a new approach.

 

This Time Next Year

Throughout 2018, we will develop our AI technology for the shared mobility market, innovate for Bike Share operators and continue to roll our solutions around the world. It is an exciting time for our industry and we are ready to help our partners benefit from our solution and encourage the continued growth of Bike Share.

 

As cities around the globe continue to push towards cleaner and more sustainable transportation, we will see increased demand for user-friendly Biker Share. How cities and operators manage their schemes and support riders will define their success.

 

The tipping point in Bike Share will be seen when automated rebalancing becomes a critical part of any Bike Share operator’s conversations about growth. AI will at least be considered when discussing a path forward for schemes looking to grow. That’s a big step forward in an industry that is constantly changing.

 

There are a few things that I believe will define the Bike Share in 2018:

 

  • Growing Bike Share Schemes

As more Bike Shares use AI-based management solutions, riders will get a better experience and schemes will grow. It will enable faster decision making for bike distribution, ensuring that riders get bikes and docks where and when they need them. That drives growth and creates new efficiencies.

 

  • Move Towards Electric

We will see a greater push in electric cars, bikes and scooters in an effort to reduce emissions and drive down costs. We will see more Bike Share offering e-bikes and even further introduction of e-scooter sharing in cities around the world. With greater range and a larger, more diverse user base, schemes will need better management solutions to drive efficiency.

 

  • Mobility as a Service

We will see mobile phones play a greater role in traditional transportation. Mobility as Service (MaaS) showed its potential in 2017 and now MaaS will begin being rolled out in cities around the globe. It will streamline how we travel and deliver even more data about how we commute.

 

  • The End of the Free-For-All in Free Floating

The free-for-all in Free Floating Bike Share has to come to an end. Healthy markets do not tolerate massive oversupply and as we’ve seen in some cities in China it leads to failing schemes. Free Floating Bike Share Schemes need to be managed and follow policies set out by local governments to be successful. In 2018, we hope to see less mistakes made and a lesson to be learned.

 

All of these things will drive demand for AI-based solutions and the evolution of Bike Share Scheme management. Bike Share operations should be simpler to manage with better experiences for riders. In 2018, we will solve some of the challenges in transportation and deliver solutions that benefit cities, citizens and the environment. I see tremendous potential in our business and our industry. 2018 will be a phenomenal year for AI in transportation.

 

Stage Intelligence’s Usability Data Reveals the Need for Better Bike Share Scheme Management

Insights from schemes in London, Paris, New York and Chicago show that data can be used to deliver optimised rider experiences and grow Bike Share Schemes

LONDON, 8 November 2017 – Stage Intelligence, the leading provider of Bike Share Scheme management solutions, has released its 2016 Q4 data on bicycle and docking station usability and availability across Bike Share Schemes in London, Paris, New York and Chicago. Usability is central to providing an exceptional rider experience and supporting the growth of Bike Share Schemes. It ensures bikes and docking stations are available when and where they are needed most.

The data reveals Chicago and London leading the group with an average usability figure for the quarter of 99.3% and 99.4% respectively. Chicago has been consistent in delivering a reliable Bike Share Scheme to its riders. London is also rated highly but this could indicate over servicing its market, which can create unnecessary costs and limit growth.

New York City ranks the lowest of the major cities with an average usability figure of 90.2% for the quarter. It means that on average 10% of riders at any given time cannot access the bikes or docking stations they want. Paris follows New York City with an average usability of 98.1% with usability dipping to lows of 76.7%. The inconsistency in the scheme means that it may be difficult for riders to depend on the scheme on a daily basis.

“Bike Share riders and cities benefit from Schemes that are easy and reliable to use,” said Tom Nutley, Head of Operations at Stage Intelligence. “Operators need to make sure that riders have access to bikes when and where they need them without over servicing the market. This is where the London scheme could be at most risk. The data is very positive for London but it could be using too much city resources to manage its operations especially when there is no need to.”

Stage’s usability measure compares all docking stations that are within easy walking/cycling distance in a published 500m radius from each other, which can be altered by the BICO platform. The platform takes into account each city’s SLAs when measuring the usability of a Bike Share Scheme. A docking station is usable if there are bikes and docking points available at the station itself or at one or more of its neighbours. The BICO platform can also set custom usability defined by a specific threshold or the SLAs of different cities.

“For Bike Share schemes to be seen as a real, public transport solution and a smart answer to urban mobility, they need to work as good or better than existing public transport services,” said Paul Stratta, Director, at Platform for European Bicycle Sharing & Systems (PEBSS), an initiative from the ECF. “Nowadays people go to bus and railway stations expecting the services to be there, and for it to operate on time. It should be the same with Bike Share schemes. Collecting and analysing data allows Bike Share operators, and their city clients, to get a big picture of operations and understand where bike share can improve and how exactly to do it.”

The neighbourhood approach goes beyond the usual cluster and geographic data collection method which may be a sub-optimal approach – especially in larger schemes. It can identify if Bike Share Schemes are managed well and if it is over or under servicing the cities and its riders. The BICO platform is dynamic to each city and considers each city’s user patterns and prioritisation as well as the SLAs they operate under to measure the usability of Bike Share Schemes and provide valuable data for operators.

“Our BICO platform allows us to take a deep dive into individual Bike Share Schemes in different cities and neighbourhoods around the world and find ways to improve usability within them,” said Toni Kendall-Troughton, CEO at Stage Intelligence. “We were particularly impressed with Chicago’s Bike Share scheme which was performing well without over servicing its neighbourhoods or the market. It was consistent throughout the quarter with high usability figures and over-performed on busy summer weekends to meet the rise in demand.”

 

About Stage Intelligence

Stage Intelligence specialises in developing Artificial Intelligence solutions for the transport and logistics industry. Its flagship solution, the BICO recommendation engine, delivers real-time intelligence for the management of bikeshare schemes. BICO enables precise and optimal decision making and has been purpose-built to remove the complexity from managing resources within a bikeshare scheme. Customers choose Stage Intelligence because our solutions increase their agility, adaptability and enable them to move beyond traditional manual processes. We collaborate with customers to solve complex problems and deliver solutions that have a lasting impact on their operations.

www.stageintelligence.co.uk

 

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’.

How to Grow a Smart City Bike Share Scheme

Smart Cities offer an entire ecosystem of valuable and relevant data that Bike Share Scheme operators can use. Smart City data can be used to identify trends and provide actionable insights that can drive the growth of Bike Share Schemes.

These four questions about data hold key information that Bike Share Scheme operators can use to reshape their approach:

  • Who are they?
  • What is happening in the City?
  • Where are they going?
  • What are they saying?

Bike Share Scheme operators need to know not only who their riders are but also the potential of the market. Citywide census and records collect data on population and demographics as well as human behaviour that can be used to predict the future of such schemes for operators. Trends in demographics can be identifiers for areas of growth in specific markets.

Cities also offer the potential to track a range of real-time data from traffic to weather and major events. Understanding how areas are being used at different times of day, by different types of people, and in response to different events through real-time data, can be highly beneficial to operators. A dynamic scheme is the first step in providing mobility options that work for all.

How people move in urban cities is just as important as identifying who they are. Fortunately, cities have a way of capturing this data too. Mobile phones, parking sensors, congestion zones all yield data about how and when people are moving around the city. Transport for London (TFL), a body responsible for the cities transport system, can track passenger movements through the Oyster card. For Bike Share Scheme operators, this data allows them to provide resources that are better attuned to the rider’s needs.

In a more connected and social world, it is also much easier to find out what people are thinking.
As an example, sentiment analysis can be used to track attitudes and opinions on social media. Operators can use this data to see how people react, what they like and dislike as well identify any opportunities for improvement. Ridership is the key to success for Bike Share Schemes and insights on this data can go a long way in ensuring the satisfaction of riders.

The challenge for operators is in how this data is collected and managed. Smart Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems will make use of public data feeds and encrypt user information to ensure the security of data.

For Bike Share Schemes and other transportation networks, it is imperative that they comply with existing and soon-to-be implemented regulations on data collection, privacy and usage such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The EU GDPR replaces the Data Protection Directive 95/46/EC and was designed to harmonise data privacy laws across Europe, to protect and empower citizens and to reshape the way organisations approach data privacy.

To find out more about what data is available in Smart Cities, read our full white paper on ‘How to Grow a Smart City Bike Share Scheme’.