Not long after I posted the last blog about various sources of bike share data, I came across this article, which highlights this type of data’s use in Lyon, France – one of the first cities to adopt a bike sharing system in 2005.
One interesting kernel they found was that the average speed of bicycles on Wednesdays is faster than that of other days. Why? It turns out that women tend to stay home to care for children on Wednesdays in France. Secondly, during rush hour, bicycle travel speeds were systematically higher than those of automobiles (around 15 km/hr) – an encouraging fact for anyone trying to promote a bike sharing scheme. One other (perhaps obvious, but still) important finding was that speeds peak around 7:45 and 8:45 in the morning, trending with the start of the workday. Now that bike sharing systems are becoming more and more popular, and their systems ever more technologically advanced, I think we can expect to see more data gathering, more analysis, and quicker responses to needed improvements in the systems. We’ve highlighted many of the piloted systems in our Showcase, including SoBi, iBike, and BikePark, and have also noted a few on our blog. Now that data gathering is easy through the ubiquitous use of mobile communications technologies, the challenge will be to slice and dice it in the most useful ways for proactive change in global cities.