Bicycles

ZAP!

As I’ve noted in some posts before, there is a real lack of data for bicycle and pedestrian planning.  Modeling non-motorized travel behavior is difficult simply because (relatively speaking), not many people are traveling this way.  Therefore, in random sample surveys, very few (if any) people are picked up.  There’s no way to model and predict behavior when no behavior can be observed in the first place. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAcIa2KwQ1Q&w=440&h=360]

That’s only one of the reasons why I’m so encouraged by a new product called ZAP! by Dero.  ZAP! employs RFID (radio frequency identification) technology to count and track bicycles passing by its sensors.  The technology is similar to that used in FasTrak or EZPass for automobiles in toll lanes.

Because bikes (more accurately, bicyclists) can be tracked, Dero has brilliantly devised a scheme whereby data is collected and users are encouraged to ride more often by being offered incentives and discounts based on how often they cycle.  Individuals get their own online dashboard that reports miles biked, gallons of gas and tons of CO2 saved, and calories burned.

The solar-powered, wireless, and web-based solution is sold to employers who can now offer $20 per month in tax-free reimbursements for bicycle-related expenses under the Federal Bicycle Commuter Act.  According to Mike Anderson of Dero, “some companies just get it,” and they want to encourage bicycle commuting because it makes sense.  Dero itself offers bicycle riders a $3/day incentive for riding!

They’ve recently won the 2010 Commuter Choice Award from Minneapolis for being a company who successfully manages employee commuting (they’ve employed their own solution).  I can see this concept going a long way not only in Minneapolis, but in other settings as well.  It offers the possibility of robust, frequent data collection and the type of encouragement that could really induce more demand in the bicycle travel market.

As the bicycle regains its place of popularity, we may be heading toward a time where bicycles have to be licensed like automobiles (wishful thinking?).  This requirement could provide an opportunity to install RFID chips in each bicycle, tracking bicycle movement similar to San Francisco’s CycleTracks App, but with no action required by the user.  In the short term, though, Dero’s ZAP! provides the type of innovative, elegant solutions to encouraging

-Terra Curtis

 

Cycling and Community Development in Africa

Check out these great initiatives in Africa: Ride 4 A Woman, One Street’s Social Bike Business Program, and Global Cycle Solutions. The mission of Ride 4 A Woman is “to economically and socially empower local women in the closest communities surrounding Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park.”  The project raises money by renting bicycles to tourists as well as giving tours in the national park.  As a bicycle-focused company, they also promote the independence of Ugandan women by providing them with a bicycle and teaching them bicycle-related skills, saving them valuable travel time. Global Cycle Solutions (GCS) would pair well with the Ride 4 A Woman program, though it is focused in Tanzania.  GCS has developed a series of tool adapters that enhance the capability of bicycles, making them increasingly relevant to developing country settings.  Current tools include a corn sheller and a mobile phone charger.

Lastly, One Street – an Arizona-based non-profit attempting to serve organizations who seek to increase bicycling, walking, transit and social equity.  Through their Social Bike Business program, they’ve partnered with Ride 4 A Woman to “break through barriers to women riding bicycles and learning mechanical skills.”

While these programs are not as tech-focused as some of the other initiatives we highlight, they are providing simple technologies to developing countries where bicycling can significantly increase marginal productivity.  And, with the ubiquity of mobile technology in these regions, perhaps some solutions developed for these areas will be translatable to the developed world as well.

-Terra Curtis

SolaRoad

Getting back to the theme of the Living Labs Global Showcase Awards, I wanted to highlight a project that is being developed in the Netherlands called “SolaRoad.”  I think it is particularly relevant to Stockholm’s search for innovative intelligent transport systems to encourage less driving and more biking (among other alternatives).

A Netherlands-based company called TNO has developed technology for a solar-panel road surface.  As cycle tracks have fewer strict design requirements and lower traffic load and physical impact, the company decided to pitch their initial SolaRoad pilot at cycle tracks in the Netherlands (15,000 km exist so there is high expansion potential). The construction includes a concrete base layer topped with solar cells, which is then covered by an optical layer and topped off with a transparent top layer.  TNO claims the technology produces the exact same amount of energy as is harvested by the typical rooftop application of solar panels and would cost roughly the same amount.  They predict the technology to earn back its costs within 5-8 years of implementation and after that to be profitable.  Their first pilot is set for 100km of cycle track in Noord Holland to be completed in summer of 2012 and to extend through 5 years of experimentation.

-Terra Curtis

My war on regional digitized road and transport data in Stockholm

During the years 2006 – 2009 when working in the regional public transport I found an lucky opportunity to fill one of my companies most frustrating data black holes with ones and zeros. But you can’t win them all! Listen to my story. You are one year old when you learn to walk, you are five or six when you learn to ride a bike and at least 16 when learning to drive. All of us have as a primary means of traveling - walking (and here I include all in wheelchairs) and even motorists are occasionally forced to leave their car - at least to be able to refuel the car.

Although, since the modern era began, cities has focused on the car's traction, and to be frank , we have built cities such as displacing pedestrians as second-class citizens. When Sweden a few years ago legislated that motorists have an obligation to give way to pedestrians intending to cross the street - then motorists raged and state that this is a traffic hazard!

In wintertime all municipalities in Sweden are carefully plowing the roads. Although, in many of these municipalities leaders has decided that the property owners shall be responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks. How many property owners do you think it is along a normal Swedish roadside - and how likely do you make it a pedestrian is offered a safe and pleasant journey? And bike lanes often proves to be a perfect place for the snow brigade to put aside the snow.

In Sweden, the public exercise of power is highly decentralized and we have a very comprehensive municipal planning monopoly. But there is also very important to have a coherent national road infrastructure. Sweden therefore decided very early that it was important to establish a national database of road network. Yes, that is, the motorist road network, administrated by the National Swedish Road Administration. First on the runway by filling it with content was in fact the forest industry. They used this excellent almost free of charge resource to post their temporary forest roads so that their forest machines and trucks could find their way to all the remote and well hidden places where harvesting is currently underway. See there - an excellent commercial application of one of the society offered national data infrastructures!

In this decentralized Sweden, the municipalities are also responsible for the local road network. Therefore, also the digitization of the local road network has been a local affair and the Swedish Road Administration has therefore never been able to force any municipality neither to gather the data, nor to deliver it anywhere. Of course, the local politicians has limited budgets and if he / she has to choose among local public opinions, the one that demands for digitized road networks has never been particularly vociferous. In fact, even after 14 years of operation, this database NVDB has not yet signed contracts with all Swedish municipalities.

In fact, when NVDB established in 1996, bike lanes were not even on the horizon. Today as the National Traffic Administration offers the possibility after many years of nagging (not the least from me) quite many municipalities have supplied data, but there is still no one offering municipalities an opportunity to store a digitized pedestrian lane database.

I used to work in SL, the Stockholm County Public Transportation Authority, and there I was responsible for the development of Internet and mobile services. Such a core service is the travel planner. SL's network is an integrated intermodal network that spans 26 municipalities and, yes, you already understand the problem. All the county has actually delivered the digitized road network and that means that all players, especially yellow pages business and Garmin and TomTom etc have been able to develop great services. But in public transport you are totally dependent on that the footpaths are digitized - for all public transport passengers must get to and from stations and bus stops. For SL, the lack of an across municipal boundaries associated digitized pedestrian network the travel planner becoming increasingly a problem as customers always expect better and more advanced services.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw78Pwtg38w&w=425&h=350]

A few years ago when Stockholm won the opportunity to host the ITS World Congress, I saw an opportunity to change this. I put on the top of my (read SL) wish list a coherent and digitized route network for walking and biking. I quite easily in these collaborative surrounding of the National Swedish Road Administration, the National Swedish Rail Administration, The National Swedish Transport Administration, the City of Stockholm, the National Swedish Railway Company and many, many other stakeholders found friends of the mission, realizing the importance of this. Mobility services for people with impairments, police and rescue services must be found to the door even on local private pedestrian areas in closed yards, the postal service must even find doors in the z-axis, so this should be a easy piece, I thought. I built relations with ALL, and all agreed on the importance of access to such data - but no one was willing to either take responsibility or to share responsibility, this includes my former employer.

In despair I went to one of the largest commercial global players in GIS. They had a great interest - to map the inner city of Stockholm on the basis of the business traveler's perspective ... but could not see any profit to make in the mapping of walking paths in the Stockholm archipelago. No luck again.

Finally I found one guy with the same burning fire inside for the same thing as me, he ran the exact same question from one of the largest and leading infrastructure consultancy firms, actually he was the CEO of a large subsidiary specializing in GIS.

Today he is no longer there and still today you cannot find a coherent pedestrian and bicycle road network in this county.

This, ladies and gentlemen, this is my biggest carrier failure. And I indeed take it very personal.

- Åke Lindström, Market Director Kista Science City

My war on regional digitized road and transport data in Stockholm

During the years 2006 – 2009 when working in the regional public transport I found an lucky opportunity to fill one of my companies most frustrating data black holes with ones and zeros. But you can’t win them all! Listen to my story. You are one year old when you learn to walk, you are five or six when you learn to ride a bike and at least 16 when learning to drive. All of us have as a primary means of traveling - walking (and here I include all in wheelchairs) and even motorists are occasionally forced to leave their car - at least to be able to refuel the car.

Although, since the modern era began, cities has focused on the car's traction, and to be frank , we have built cities such as displacing pedestrians as second-class citizens. When Sweden a few years ago legislated that motorists have an obligation to give way to pedestrians intending to cross the street - then motorists raged and state that this is a traffic hazard!

In wintertime all municipalities in Sweden are carefully plowing the roads. Although, in many of these municipalities leaders has decided that the property owners shall be responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks. How many property owners do you think it is along a normal Swedish roadside - and how likely do you make it a pedestrian is offered a safe and pleasant journey? And bike lanes often proves to be a perfect place for the snow brigade to put aside the snow.

In Sweden, the public exercise of power is highly decentralized and we have a very comprehensive municipal planning monopoly. But there is also very important to have a coherent national road infrastructure. Sweden therefore decided very early that it was important to establish a national database of road network. Yes, that is, the motorist road network, administrated by the National Swedish Road Administration. First on the runway by filling it with content was in fact the forest industry. They used this excellent almost free of charge resource to post their temporary forest roads so that their forest machines and trucks could find their way to all the remote and well hidden places where harvesting is currently underway. See there - an excellent commercial application of one of the society offered national data infrastructures!

In this decentralized Sweden, the municipalities are also responsible for the local road network. Therefore, also the digitization of the local road network has been a local affair and the Swedish Road Administration has therefore never been able to force any municipality neither to gather the data, nor to deliver it anywhere. Of course, the local politicians has limited budgets and if he / she has to choose among local public opinions, the one that demands for digitized road networks has never been particularly vociferous. In fact, even after 14 years of operation, this database NVDB has not yet signed contracts with all Swedish municipalities.

In fact, when NVDB established in 1996, bike lanes were not even on the horizon. Today as the National Traffic Administration offers the possibility after many years of nagging (not the least from me) quite many municipalities have supplied data, but there is still no one offering municipalities an opportunity to store a digitized pedestrian lane database.

I used to work in SL, the Stockholm County Public Transportation Authority, and there I was responsible for the development of Internet and mobile services. Such a core service is the travel planner. SL's network is an integrated intermodal network that spans 26 municipalities and, yes, you already understand the problem. All the county has actually delivered the digitized road network and that means that all players, especially yellow pages business and Garmin and TomTom etc have been able to develop great services. But in public transport you are totally dependent on that the footpaths are digitized - for all public transport passengers must get to and from stations and bus stops. For SL, the lack of an across municipal boundaries associated digitized pedestrian network the travel planner becoming increasingly a problem as customers always expect better and more advanced services.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw78Pwtg38w&w=425&h=350]

A few years ago when Stockholm won the opportunity to host the ITS World Congress, I saw an opportunity to change this. I put on the top of my (read SL) wish list a coherent and digitized route network for walking and biking. I quite easily in these collaborative surrounding of the National Swedish Road Administration, the National Swedish Rail Administration, The National Swedish Transport Administration, the City of Stockholm, the National Swedish Railway Company and many, many other stakeholders found friends of the mission, realizing the importance of this. Mobility services for people with impairments, police and rescue services must be found to the door even on local private pedestrian areas in closed yards, the postal service must even find doors in the z-axis, so this should be a easy piece, I thought. I built relations with ALL, and all agreed on the importance of access to such data - but no one was willing to either take responsibility or to share responsibility, this includes my former employer.

In despair I went to one of the largest commercial global players in GIS. They had a great interest - to map the inner city of Stockholm on the basis of the business traveler's perspective ... but could not see any profit to make in the mapping of walking paths in the Stockholm archipelago. No luck again.

Finally I found one guy with the same burning fire inside for the same thing as me, he ran the exact same question from one of the largest and leading infrastructure consultancy firms, actually he was the CEO of a large subsidiary specializing in GIS.

Today he is no longer there and still today you cannot find a coherent pedestrian and bicycle road network in this county.

This, ladies and gentlemen, this is my biggest carrier failure. And I indeed take it very personal.

- Åke Lindström, Market Director Kista Science City

The Vector Project Visioning Workshop.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsDLzqWGrQk&w=425&h=350] At our Summit on Service Innovation last week in Copenhagen we ran 9 parallel Visioning Workshops, such as the one facilitated by Neil Clavin and Maya Wiseman on their Vector Project Showcase. The above video was edited by Viktorija Prak, a very talented student supporting Neil and Maya in the workshop, in which business leaders, strategists, researchers and cities invented new urban technologies to redefine the role of bikes in our cities.

Copenhagen Picks Billy-Bike Navigation Solution to Pilot the Future

37 companies from around the world have presented solutions for piloting the future of biking in Copenhagen. The winner was announced today at the Copenhagen | Barcelona | Kaohsiung Summit on Service Innovation in Cities by Copenhagen's Health Mayor Ninna Thomsen: a travel plan that displays the most bike-friendly route through town.When more than 36 percent of citizens use their bikes every day to get to work, school or university, Copenhagen also needs a travel plan for cyclists, says the Mayor for Healthcare of Copenhagen, Ninna Thomsen.

Billy Bike was announced today to 20 cities and 50 companies by Health Mayor Ninna Thomsen at the Copenhagen | Barcelona | Kaohsiung Summit on Service Innovation in Cities, as the chosen solution after a 4-month competition. 37 solutions that can improve health, reduce CO2 emissions, and make it easier for citizens to move around the city were submitted from 17 countries in Europe, Asia and North America in response to a call for pilot launched by the City of Copenhagen and Living Labs Global in July.

Astando, the company that first implemented Billy Bike in Stockholm, will now engage in detailed planning meetings to bring the solution to the citizens of Copenhagen for a pilot in 2011. Billy Bike was chosen by a group of evaluators including the City of Copenhagen and the Bicycle Association of Copenhagen. All the world's cities need innovative solutions that make everyday life easier for citizens and call for green choices while allowing for improvements in efficiency of municipal services. There are plenty of companies that develop these solutions, but it is a challenge to get them into service in the city. So we try to push this by bringing together cities and companies together, says Ninna Thomsen.

A product such as Billy Bike has a great potential. For example, we imagine that the home care services in Copenhagen can use it as a tool to get faster and safer around town, just as technology can also be used to help our visually impaired citizens find their way, as they already do in Stockholm today, says Ninna Thomsen.

The Future Bike Call for Pilots has shown that already today many solutions can be found to revolutionise our cities when a city like Copenhagen presents its needs. These are solutions that exist today, helping to reduce the barrier to implementation for cities and opening international opportunities for companies like Astando, that continually invent new urban solutions like Billy Bike affecting the lives of millions of citizens. In the coming months, the pilot will bring this solution to life for the citizens of Copenhagen to build their own opinion and contribute to the future of the city's services.

Shortlist Copenhagen Future Bike Pilot

On behalf of the City of Copenhagen, we would hereby like to inform you about the 6 Showcases that have been shortlisted in the Future Biking pilot call. To learn more about each Showcase, just follow the respective link.

Billy Bike in Copenhagen Stockholm Sweden
City Supported Community Bicycle Shop Austin USA
eMobility Management Tool Eindhoven The Netherlands
HOME TOWN Athens Greece
Little Bicycle-Sheds - Fahrradhaeuschen Hamburg Germany
Wikiloc Urban Routes Girona Spain

Evaluators at the City of Copenhagen has been impressed with the high level of quality and innovation of the 37 submitted pilots from 17 countries in Europe, Asia and North America and will seek to stay in contact with many of the other inspiring Showcases to see how these might fit into the future strategy of the city and relevant activities. The ideal forum to follow up will naturally be the “Copenhagen | Barcelona | Kaohsiung Summit on Service Innovation in Cities” on November 25th where the relevant decision-makers, led by Health Mayor Ninna Thomsen and Andreas Roehl, director of the bicycle programme will be available to pick up the discussion.

Full details will be published shortly!

Shortlist Copenhagen Future Bike Pilot

On behalf of the City of Copenhagen, we would hereby like to inform you about the 6 Showcases that have been shortlisted in the Future Biking pilot call. To learn more about each Showcase, just follow the respective link.

Billy Bike in Copenhagen Stockholm Sweden
City Supported Community Bicycle Shop Austin USA
eMobility Management Tool Eindhoven The Netherlands
HOME TOWN Athens Greece
Little Bicycle-Sheds - Fahrradhaeuschen Hamburg Germany
Wikiloc Urban Routes Girona Spain

Evaluators at the City of Copenhagen has been impressed with the high level of quality and innovation of the 37 submitted pilots from 17 countries in Europe, Asia and North America and will seek to stay in contact with many of the other inspiring Showcases to see how these might fit into the future strategy of the city and relevant activities. The ideal forum to follow up will naturally be the “Copenhagen | Barcelona | Kaohsiung Summit on Service Innovation in Cities” on November 25th where the relevant decision-makers, led by Health Mayor Ninna Thomsen and Andreas Roehl, director of the bicycle programme will be available to pick up the discussion.

Full details will be published shortly!

I am Precious

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bb1UwQfeZIk&fs=1&hl=en_US]
Breakfast, a New York-based group of techies and inventors, wants to bring internet to the real world.  They want a world that is somewhat reminiscent of science fiction.  The want the things we imagine in the future to be here today.

One of their projects, Precious, uses multiple technologies (including the Twitter API, GPS, SMS, and algorithmic analysis of various sensors’ outputs) to create a bicycle with a brain.  Every 5 minutes, the bike reports temperature, cadence, humidity, road grade, speed, direction, and location in a text message.  The text message is received and parsed by the Twitter API, and then analyzed by Breakfast’s servers.  The analysis is meant to replicate that of a human brain, giving the bike real character and personality.  (For example, if Precious is experiencing 90% humidity, 95 degrees Fahrenheit, a 10% grade and is heading due west into the prevailing winds, it might start compaining.  Wouldn’t you?)  The rider, Janeen, is riding across the U.S. to raise money for Team Livestrong. Besides building Precious, a great way to attract extra attention for a fundraising charity, Breakfast has also worked on other projects such as an iPad-controlled blimp (for which they ask, “Why not?”)

While some of their stuff seems a bit silly, perhaps indulgent, their philosophy is definitely applicable to innovating city services.  Why can’t we synthesize all the incredible technology that already exists, and simmer it down to something greater than the sum of its parts?  Tell me, why not?

-Terra Curtis

Future of Biking: Copenhagen Calls for Innovations

Copenhagen has one of the world’s most ambitious local climate policies, striving to become a zero-emission community by the year 2025. To achieve this commitment, the city already has put several measures and lines of investment into motion, actively collaborating with companies and technology experts. Together with Living Labs Global, the City of Copenhagen invites innovators, researchers and companies to present innovative mobility solutions that help to achieve the goal of integrating Bicycles fully into a new intelligent and integrated transport system for the city. Already today, more than 55% of residents in Copenhagen use the bicycle daily, creating opportunities for new applications of IT in entertainment and safety, but also to address the several barriers that continue to exist between the excellent public transport system and bicycle uses.

Call for Pilots: The future of biking in Copenhagen.

As a result, Copenhagen is inviting companies and organisations from around the world to present their solutions for a pilot this autumn (deadline 31st of August) to evaluate impact of new systems, policies, technologies or planning tools to achieve the goal of an attractive and fully integrated inter-modal transport system, incorporating the large percentage of bicycle usage.

Solutions can address, but do not need to be limited to, the following challenges:

  • Can bike paths be smarter and indicate dangers such as frost, indicate congestion or incorporate sensors to monitor activities and respond to usage needs and link to traffic light systems offering green waves for cyclists?
  • Can technology in bicycles such as health sensors, location information, theft protection, entertainment and fitness monitors be applied for entertainment, wellbeing, security and other purposes?
  • Can mobile services link bicycles and riders to social networks, provide news and updates, to pre-book bikes or reserve parking, to plan routes and other activities?
  • Can we integrate bicycle rides to get to destinations with other modes of public transport to give more inter-modal options for commuters?
  • Can we improve bicycle parking around key intersections and meeting points?
  • Can the health and well-being impact of bicycles be maximised and monitored in the city?
  • How can we improve security and safety in relation to bicycles?
  • Can we invent intelligent or smarter clothing to deal with different weather conditions and at the same time integrate into daily activities?
  • Can bicycles replace "service vehicles" for craftsmen in the inner city?
  • What can Copenhagen do for bicycle tourism?

Submitting your solution for a Pilot is simple:

  • Submit or update your Showcase at www.livinglabs-global.com/showcase for free to publish a short description of your solution. Submission Deadline: August 31st 2010.
  • Choose "Apply for a pilot of my Showcase in Copenhagen in autumn 2010".
  • Answer a short application form for evaluation.
  • The City of Copenhagen and Living Labs Global will announce results by September 15th 2010. You will receive a short report on the evaluation results.
  • If successful, you will enter discussions with the City of Copenhagen on implementation of the pilot immediately after selection. Pilots should be running at the latest on November 15th 2010 and run for around 1-6 months.

Bike Abuse in Paris

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CagYn9-7jQ&hl=en&fs=1&] Saturday's New York Times ran an unassuming yet provocative piece on the Parisian bike-sharing system, the Velib.  It seems that Velib bikes have become the scapegoats for the underlying class-tensions that persist between the modern center city and Paris's suburban banlieusards. Of the 20,000 bikes that made up the original Velib fleet,  some 8,000 have been stolen and another 8,000 rendered irreparable the NY Times reports.  Moreover, vandalism is on the rise, in 2008 incidences of destructive vandalism to the Velib fleet increased 54 percent.

Obviously, this destruction is problematic from a maintenance and provision perspective. Paris is now digging deep in its pockets to reimburse JCDecaux, the advertising company  that presides over the Velib bike sharing service; JCDecaux reports that it repairs as many as 1,500 bicycles per day.

Putting the financial implications of this abuse aside, the reporting hints at the daunting nature of the challenge at hand, the challenge to  create new, accessible, egalitarian city services, extending new degrees of mobility to all city residents.   In the article Bruno Marloff, a sociologist who specializes in transportation, describes the phenomenon as "an outcry, a form of rebellion...There is an element of negligence that means, 'We don't have the right to mobility like other people, to get to Paris it's a huge pain, we don't have cars, and when we do, it's too expensive and too far."

Velib is is unique in that it is the largest bike sharing system of its kind with 20,000 bikes in circulation and just under 1,500 docking stations.  Since its inauguration, it offered up over 63 million unique trips, changing the way many residents and tourists  experience point to point.  And, in the city center where these stations are placed every 300 meters or so, indeed, it is quite convenient.  For those living outside Paris, however, the system falls short and in this sense, the service itself might be perceived as exclusive or privileged.

Moreover, the city or JCDecaux might have reserved the Velib bike service for Paris residents instead of extending the service to tourists [bikes are readily available to everyone, simply swipe a credit card and pay a small fee] as fending off tourists during tourism season is annoying enough without having to wrest your bike from them on your morning commute;  unlike Paris, Barcelona boldly limits its bike sharing system to city residents by introducing an annual subscription model and a 3-4 day delay in the registration process.

Online, in teh comments section of the NY times, readers were eager to condemn residents for the dubious behavior, condemn the city itself for providing a service which is not without its imperfections, condemn the phenomenon itself as an enigma or capitalist culture.

Neither here nor there, filtering one's perspective through any of these enigmatic lens cuts the real problem short and makes it easy to draw incomplete conclusions.  During a plenary session in Taiwan this last month, I whitnessed two urbanists debating the role of services in shaping city identity.  While one party was eager to dismiss them as symptomatic of our urban experience, the other bearishly declared that in modern society, city services are the cornestone through which city identity and connections are made.  The case of Paris's Velibs only serves to bolster the latter planner's claim.