Started in the 1960s, bike-sharing has received increasing attention in recent years since it represents an important answer to the urban problems linked to pollution and traffic. Thanks to the evolution of Technology, bike-sharing is now developing towards the so-called 4th generation. ESB is ready to meet this challenge.

Also known as Bike Share Scheme (BSS), a Bike-Sharing System is a public service providing a short-term rental of bicycles. Usually, it is developed and offered by private companies to municipalities that invest in an alternative and sustainable transport solution for their citizens.

But BSSs we find today in the most important cities of the world are only the latest version of a movement that has improved throughout 3 generations.

– The first generation coincides with the beginning of the bike-sharing phenomenon when, in 1965, a program was developed in Amsterdam in order to provide ordinary bikes for public use. They were known as white bicycles, because of their colour, and it was a free service: bicycles were left unlocked in the city, and most of them were stolen.

– The second generation of BBS was introduced with a few bikes in Denmark in 1991, but only in 1995 Copenhagen introduced the first large-scale program of bike-sharing. The challenge was to tackle vandalism and support the return of bicycles by means of a coin deposit: a temporary self-service rental.

– The third generation was characterized by technological improvements. The first program was used in 1996 from Portsmouth University in England, where students could use a magnetic card to rent a bike. Two years later in France, the first complex BSS was adopted with a series of new features: electronically-locking racks, telecommunication systems, smartcards and mobile phone access.

Credits: The Bike-Sharing World Map

In 2008, for the first time, bike-sharing was adopted also outside Europe and today it is possible to have a very interesting overview of the current BBSs in The Bike-Sharing World Map. It is a project initiated by Paul DeMaio and curated by Russell Meddin, experts on bike-sharing and writers for the well-known The Bike-sharing Blog.

Some relevant data concerning bike-sharing figures can also be found in the Factsheet The Rise of Bicycle Sharing Schemes provided by the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) in the section of Cycling facts and figures.

Despite the increasing number of BSSs at a global level, they have some growth limitations concerning bicycles relocation in the city, small number of pedelec (electric pedal assistance bikes), bicycle damaged or missing and more. That’s why a 4th generation of BSSs is expected.

And ESB is ready to meet this challenge since it has developed a cloud-based connectivity platform called ESB.BikeSharing that offers both traditional bikes and e-bikes fleets, thus providing pedelec and moving bike-sharing to a wider audience.

Empowered by the Diagnostic and GPS/GPRS location tools embedded on the vehicles, ESB.BikeSharing offers an advanced fleet management system. Each circulating bike can be localized and displayed on a map in real time (geo-location), thus enabling the BBS administrator to optimize vehicles’ maintenance, their distribution according to the most requested areas and their relocation process by means of incentives to the end-user.

Vehicles components are well designed for resisting vandalism; moreover, they are equipped with an innovative locking system embedding a specific electronics that also enables the possibility to define some restricted riding areas (geo-fencing) and receive notifications when a vehicle has been driven over the limits of the area.

The Smartphone App is the key to reach the network of smart citizens in their daily life, introducing an innovative way to adopt a sustainable transportation. For instance, through the App, it is possible to verify the vehicle current position, its availability for booking and, in case of an e-bike, to check the battery state of charge.

ESB will have a Bike-Sharing dedicated area in its booth at the Eurobike exhibition 2016, next 31st August- 4th September in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

Save the date

Visit Our Stand At Eurobike 2016 (Hall A6-209)

Event NameEUROBIKE 2016
WhereMesse Friedrichshafen GmbH Postfach 2080
Neue Messe 1, 88046 Friedrichshafen, Germany