Simplifying Management Matters for a Healthy Bike Share Scheme

Operating a Bike Share Scheme involves managing complex logistics in a constantly changing environment. Cities offer new challenges every day that need to be overcome. No two days are likely to be the same with transportation playing a central role in how citizens experience a city.

For Bike Share Scheme operators, simplifying how they manage their schemes is crucial for their success. The complexities that come with distribution and management of bikes across a city can be resource-intensive while not delivering an optimised rider experience. This is a pain-point for many operators and as schemes grow they become difficult to manage.

When bikes are efficiently distributed across a scheme, it ensures that citizens can access bikes and docks when they need them, drives ridership growth, and ensures the overall health of the scheme. By focusing on simplifying the management of a Bike Share Scheme, operators can benefit from:

  • Cost efficiencies
  • Effective resource management
  • Easy scalability
  • Faster decision making

At Stage Intelligence, we use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to help operators focus on simplicity and maximise the potential of their Bike Share Schemes. Our BICO platform gives operators recommendations on where to distribute Bikes using AI. It uses data from across the scheme to recognise where bikes should be placed based on thousands of criteria all in real-time.

Through a simple mobile app distribution trucks are told where to go to pick bikes up while managers at a central office have a full view of the scheme.  This reduces time dedicated to decision-making while increasing visibility into docks, bikes and distribution trucks. It puts valuable data into the hands of the operator.

Operators can gain cost and resource efficiencies as distribution of staff, bikes and other resources are optimised to reduce cost and time wastage. This provides the building blocks for scalability and the growth of the scheme.

Effective management should always look to combine all these elements and deliver transparency and data that is easy to consume. This enables operators to analyse and predict various aspects of the schemes and implement decisions faster.

For Bike Share Schemes in particular, effective management can determine the success of the entire program. The common misconception is that all it takes is an investment in bikes and the provision of docking stations for a scheme to work. But simple and effective management is behind every successful scheme around the world.

The outcome of a simplified and easy to understand management model is a healthy Bike Share Scheme that has maximised efficiencies and optimised operations.

To find out more about how Stage Intelligence uses Artificial Intelligence to simplify management for Bike Share Scheme operators, please contact tom.nutley@stageintelligence.co.uk

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Introducing Version 10 of BICO Distribution Services

At Stage, we are continually updating and refining our BICO, logistics system for Bike Share Scheme operators. We listen to our customers and proactively develop the platform to better meet the needs of operators. It is important that the platform continues to evolve and change as we find new ways to use data and put Artificial Intelligence (AI) to work for our customers.

We developed a new version of BICO to simplify management and improve usability for operators. Version 10 delivers improvements focused on:

  • Console usability
  • Bug fixes
  • Android app stability

With Version 10, field operatives benefit from full access to BICO distribution services with the improved Android app. The BICO RESTful API v2.0 has been re-engineered to improve communication resilience and improve efficiency across high latency mobile networks.

The new version focuses on simplifying usage for operators with enhanced map views. Users can customise their default view from any one of the available options and declutter it through a custom Google map style. The view also shows ad-hoc jobs in a different colour to improve visibility for users.

In previous versions, stations with poor usability were all under the same red icon. To improve this, in the new version, we use multiple colours to represent the status of the stations and whether it is too full or too empty.

In our growing efforts to provide additional functionality and future extendibility of the system, we have implemented the New Service Point view to replace the old Docking Station View. The new view makes it possible to filter or search service points and pull up all the information that BICO holds about that specific point which may be amended by the user.

These key changes are implemented with the user in mind and how the system can deliver enhanced usability and a customised view to each individual user. Field operators gain better visibility of the entire Bike Share Scheme and makes managing this process simple with clear map views and warning indications. Simple management is the key to success and growth of Bike Share Schemes.

At Stage, we are always looking to use the latest technology to provide the best possible solutions in logistics in cycle sharing programs. This version update builds on our dedication to improve our services that impact both our customers and their end users.

To find out more about BICO Version 10, please contact tom.nutley@stageintelligence.co.uk

Bike Share Scheme – In the News

Bike Share Schemes continue to evolve and grow around the world. Our industry is changing rapidly and we like to stay on top of Bike Share news. Across the transport industry, the status quo is being challenged every day and in Bike Share Schemes new models are being developed and new schemes are being deployed all of the time.

Here is a round-up of some key news, we see shaping the future of Bike Share Schemes:

  • European Bike Share Availability Set to Double by 2025

According to analysts Frost & Sullivan, cities will increasingly turn to Bike Share Schemes as they seek to tackle the issue of rising emissions and poor air quality in major cities across Europe. Due to the high cost of setting up and running such schemes, a sponsorship model is likely to help meet these costs, enabling companies from a range of industries to get involved in the Bike Share Scheme market.

 

  • Mobike, Chinese Bicycle Sharing Start-up, Wins Additional Investment

Chinese bicycle-sharing start-up Mobike has announced additional funding, bringing its total new funding in 2017 to more than $300 million. This is in addition to the $215 million and an undisclosed investment from Foxconn last month, in an effort to double the number of bikes it produced last year to 10 million in 2017.

Mobike allows users to find, ride and pay for company bicycles scattered throughout 21 Chinese cities using an app and QR codes and is one of two Chinese bike-sharing start-ups that have raised hundreds of millions in funding since the beginning of 2016.

 

  • The Best and Worst of Bike Share Schemes

The UK’s Guardian newspaper has ranked the best and worst Bike Share Schemes globally based on cost, ease of access, bikes, docking stations and overall experience. It found the most affordable Bike Share Scheme in Hangzhou, China with an annual fee of £20. The article notes that the best Bike Share Scheme in the world is “…probably a toss-up between Hangzhou in China and Dublin in Ireland, although Vienna’s and Washington DC’s schemes win plaudits, while the Netherlands wins on transport integration.”

 

  • New Bike Share Scheme Launched in Singapore as Competition Grows

Chinese company ofo has launched a Bike Share Scheme in Singapore with an initial fleet of 1,000 bikes. This comes after Obike, a Singapore-based start-up with both local and Chinese investors launched in January. Obike has said it plans to deploy tens of thousands of bikes in Singapore.

Singapore’s Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) will also be launching a Bike Share Scheme in the fourth quarter of this year. Each scheme will be challenged to deliver an optimal customer experience to ensure that consumers choose their scheme and create customer loyalty.

 

  • M&A – Motivate and 8D Merger

The Motivate and 8D merger demonstrates that our industry is maturing. Motivate, one of the largest Bike Share operators in the world, is teaming up with hardware and software provider 8D Technologies to grow innovation in Bike Share Schemes. 8D Technologies provides turnkey solutions that include bike key dispensers, bike docks, bike locking mechanisms, and efficient power management.

It powers nearly 40,000 bikes in Bike Share Schemes globally including Santander Cycle Hire (London, UK), Bixi (Montreal, Canada), ADCB Bikeshare (Abu Dhabi, UAE) and Melbourne Bike Share (Melbourne, Australia).

“Bringing Motivate and 8D together will accelerate bike share innovation and bolster our ability to revolutionize the landscape of cities,” said Jay Walder, President and CEO of Motivate and the combined companies.

 

Stage Intelligence plays a central role in Bike Share Schemes. We use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to simplify Bike Share Scheme management and ensure that operators are able to optimise distribute bikes across their schemes.

To find out more about how Stage Intelligence can help streamline logistics of Bike Share schemes, please contact tom.nutley@stageintelligence.co.uk

Driving Transformation in Transportation in 2017

2016 marked a turning point for Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the transportation industry. We are seeing ideas that seemed distant actually becoming a reality. Self-driving cars are on the roads, Mobility as a Service (MaaS) apps are going live and we have deployed our AI-based technology in Bike Share Schemes around the world.

The industry is at the very beginning of a period of rapid change. Throughout 2016, we’ve seen glimpses of the future that have hinted at what is possible in transportation. Legacy models are being challenged and there is an appetite for change.

Digital transformation is rewriting the rules in industries around the world. Transportation is not separate from that. Consumers’ expectations are changing and they are demanding that transportation behave more like other services they consume. While transportation networks like buses and trains are not easily disrupted, any improvement to user experience is welcome and can differentiate even the oldest forms of transport.

Drivers for Change

Consumer expectations are being shaped by their experiences with smartphones, eCommerce platforms and predictive, proactive and intelligent services delivered by companies like Google, Facebook and Apple. A lot of the applications and services we use every day are data-driven, on-demand and delivered across devices. That is changing how we see the world and what we expect from traditional and longer established industries like transportation.

So many of the apps and services we use today are fluid and operate beyond silos. I can log into a streaming service like Spotify on an iPhone or an HP laptop. Google Maps can be accessed via different devices and then seamlessly integrated into other mobile apps for different purposes. Apps and services are adaptable and that creates new user experiences and accelerates how they grow.

At the same time, users aren’t tied to one service or another. If they have a poor experience, they are used to deleting apps in seconds and moving on. Loyalty is at an all-time low and churn happens in an instant. That is a challenge for providers of any service and something that drives the need for exceptional customer service.

Operators and Providers of transportation services should be asking themselves four key questions:

  • How do we deliver a transportation service that meets these new expectations?
  • How do we create an exceptional user experience?
  • What technologies can optimise our services?
  • How do we go beyond what we are doing today and deliver the services of the future?

These questions pose interesting challenges to transportation operators and providers. They have to reimagine their role in the transportation ecosystem and think about how they are going to proactively shape their future.

Alphabet, Google’s holding company, has said that it is not in the business of making better cars “…We are in the business of making better drivers.” That is a real shift in thinking and something that we at Stage Intelligence really believe in. The new era of transportation is not about just making more trains available or buses run on time but making services and experiences better.

Optimising Bike Share Schemes

At Stage Intelligence, we have been focused on using AI to simplify and optimise how Bike Share Schemes are managed. We have had success in integrating mobile, applications and AI to create a platform that helps operators to deliver an exceptional user experience.

Throughout 2016, we have trialled our technology around the world and deployed it in cities across the US. The response to our BICO recommendation engine has been tremendous.

Bike Share Scheme operators have seen how BICO can simplify their operations with AI-based recommendations that consider millions of criteria and turn data into actionable insights. BICO makes recommendations for distributing bikes to locations where and when they are needed. That means riders can access bikes when they want them and be sure a dock will be available at the end of their journey.

The trucks that distribute bicycles across the scheme are supported with a mobile app that tells them where to pick up and drop bikes in real-time. Decision making time is reduced, communications are streamlined and riders know that they can depend on their Bike Share Schemes.

We take complex and ever-changing city environments and make them easy to understand and serve. This optimises management and makes it easy for operators to provide the best possible experience for riders.

Riders can rely on Bike Share Schemes and become regular users. That increases ridership and helps cities to benefit from healthy and rider-centric Bike Share Schemes. Our goal is to remove the friction from using a Bike Share Scheme and to help operators deliver exceptional rider experiences that in turn drive growth in their schemes.

AI enables them to meet increasingly demanding consumer expectations and helps to position Bike Share Schemes as an even more reliable mode of transport than traditional transport networks. AI makes it possible to make faster decisions with greater accuracy while optimising these decisions in real-time.

This is why so many schemes around the world are trialling BICO or have deployed it already. They see the potential for AI to deliver transport services that are as dependable and efficient as other apps and services we use every day.

New Momentum

In 2017, we will continue to see our deployments grow to more Bike Share Schemes in more cities globally. We have had success in North America and have seen the potential of our solutions in some of the largest cities in the US. There is momentum behind our platform as more cities adopt BICO and see how simple and beneficial it can be to use AI in their operations.

In the New Year, we expect to see new growth in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region with more Bike Share Schemes looking at how they can optimise their services. The US has been an early adopter of AI in Bike Share Schemes but there is a growing openness to integrating new technologies in Bike Share Schemes around the world.

There also is growing interest in electric scooter sharing and autonomous vehicles, these have the potential to benefit from distribution and logistics solutions as well. We are evaluating these opportunities as we don’t see any limits on where our technology can be applied.

Beyond Bike Share Schemes, we see huge opportunities in supporting and making On Demand Delivery services a reality. We can help application operators to deliver truly on demand experiences for customers while helping to differentiate their services with AI.

In hyper-competitive markets like food delivery, AI can support an optimised distribution of delivery drivers and enable them to be faster and more efficient than their competitors. In 2017, we will give our partners a competitive edge using AI and enable them to differentiate with Quality of Experience.

Similarly, we are looking at MaaS and how we can integrate AI into fully converged apps for citywide transport. MaaS apps are streamlining journey planning and delivering new ways of navigating cities. The challenge is to optimise journeys while taking into account availability, demand, weather, events and other criteria that can change day-to-day.

Our approach will be focused on using AI to create new value from existing transport networks and delivering exceptional user experiences. The value of MaaS is easy to understand but it is execution and intelligence that will make it essential for citizens.

Throughout 2017, we will be exploring how we can innovate with AI and use our technology to deliver new services. Transportation is changing and we are at the cutting edge of AI, optimisation and delivering the user experiences of the future. We are helping our partners to answer those four key questions and deliver transportation services that match new demand and expectations.

2017 is going to be a year of disruption for transportation around the world and we are going to support our partners and help them to succeed as our industry continues to change.

Toni Kendall-Troughton

CEO, Stage Intelligence

Creating Better Jobs with Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is disrupting all kinds of industries and changing them for the better. While most discussions around AI are positive, there are still fears around AI’s impact on the job market.

In many cases, AI won’t replace workers but it will make them better at their jobs. It will enable workers to refocus their jobs around areas where a human touch can add value. The impact of AI is already being felt and we see it as not about phasing people out but finding smarter ways to work.

AI is enabling many types of jobs to become easier and more efficient. It permits extremely large quantities of data to be made accessible and useful for people to make faster and more precise decisions. While this can be seen as outsmarting human beings, it is actually enabling workers to manage and use more data with better results.

This means workers will be able to proactively manage situations based on extremely complex data patterns while businesses will be able to make larger and more targeted investments. It creates a new business environment that is different but isn’t simply about removing people from the workforce.

At the same time, AI is driving demand for new skills. We must be prepared to “up-skill and re-skill” according to the UK parliament.

At Stage Intelligence, we agree that education and training systems across the world should be developed and made more flexible. They should teach students about AI and the skills they need to accommodate to a life working with it. AI is not going away and as it becomes ever present within day-to-day life, specifically within the jobs market, it is important that we can all find a way to maximise the potential of AI in our businesses.

We believe that AI should be embraced as a technology that helps facilitate jobs and enhances our lives. At Stage Intelligence we use AI to create intelligent solutions to solve complex problems within logistics in Bike Share Schemes. Our AI is helping Bike Share Scheme operators to increase usability and ridership allowing its staff to focus on other core areas of the business. By embracing AI both individuals and technology can work together to make a better Bike Share Scheme.

It is important that we all find a way to embrace and work with AI. It should not be seen as a threat but rather as an opportunity. AI can improve the jobs market and evolve the ways of working to create greater efficiency, enhancing the lives of everyone.

What are your thoughts on the future role of AI within jobs? Share your ideas in a comment below.

Putting Cycling at the Centre of Active Transport in London

London is putting cycling front and centre of its campaign to deliver smarter, greener and more efficient transport.

In August, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan shared his vision for the transforming transport in London. He wants the capital city to be a place of ‘active transport’ and is working to make the city greener, smarter and easier to navigate.

Following this announcement, Transport for London (TfL) awarded a new £79.7 million Cycle Hire contract to Bike Share Scheme operator Serco, which includes the development of lighter, more comfortable and more maneuverable bikes. Serco will continue to maintain and distribute the fleet of Santander Cycles until 2022.

Cycling has already taken a major role in commuter life in London. There is a fleet of 11,500 Santander Cycles in London and TfL says that there are over 610,000 bike trips a day made in the city, well over double the figure of the early 2000s.

In 2000, central London’s roads during the morning rush hour were populated by seven times as many cars as bikes. This ratio has now dropped to nearly two to one, leading TfL to predict that bikes will outnumber cars within a few years.

Khan recognises the potential and popularity of cycling within London, and has created a campaign for enhancing the cycling experience in London. He has agreed to increase the TfL budget spend on cycling and has given the go ahead on continuing the build of the cycle super highway. He wants London to be a leader in supporting cycling and show the rest of the world that London understands how to deliver active and green transport.

Khan is dedicated to supporting cycling across London and is working on a number of ways to make this happen. One of the best ways to support cycling in London is to focus on driving usage in its Bike Share Scheme. More users mean less cars on the road, fewer traffic jams, lower emissions and greatly improves public health through physical activity.

London can grow its Bike Share Schemes by focusing on making it even more user friendly. The happier riders are the more uptake Bike Share Schemes will incur, and as a result the more active London will become.

At Stage Intelligence we use Artificial Intelligence to simplify the distribution of bicycles in Bike Share Schemes. When Bike Share Schemes are properly distributed and made easy-to-use, customer satisfaction increases. Bike Share Scheme optimisation can effectively help transform the London transport experience. We think that Khan’s support in bettering cycling in London is a great place to begin in bringing his vision to life.

To find out more about Stage Intelligence’s technology and how it can assist in making the distribution in Bike Share Schemes as efficient as possible please visit our website: http://bit.ly/2bl1cbH

Stage Intelligence adds support for the GBFS Open Data Standard into its BICO Distribution Solution

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BICO uses Artificial Intelligence to enable Bike Share Schemes around the globe to maximise their potential and deliver an optimal user experience.   

LONDON, 7 September 2016 – Stage Intelligence, the leading provider of Bike Share distribution solutions, has added support for the General Bikeshare Feed Specification (GBFS) open data standard into its BICO Distribution Solution. The GBFS integration enables BICO to access published data feeds from all participating bike share schemes. Bike share schemes that use GBFS are able to rapidly deploy BICO and use Artificial Intelligence to not only automate, but also optimise, real-time bike distribution decisions with end-to-end workflow management to Field Operatives.

BICO has been designed to simplify how scheme operators manage day-to-day bike distribution in a consistent and scalable way, allowing schemes to grow and adapt as demand patterns change. BICO can evaluate the enormous amount of possible distribution options available in its decision-making, enabling operators to leverage new levels of real-time intelligence improving end-user satisfaction.

“The new GBFS support accelerates access to real-time intelligence for participating bike share schemes. Schemes that use BICO see more than a 15% reduction in operational cost while ensuring that bike share users can have access to the bikes or docks they need,” said Toni Kendall-Troughton, CEO at Stage Intelligence. “We are the only provider of Artificial Intelligence-based solutions for Bike Share schemes with live deployments in major cities. The new BICO GBFS support will advance our growth around the world.”

The GBFS open data standard was adopted by the North American Bikeshare Association (NABSA) in November 2015. It makes real-time data feeds publicly available online in a uniform format so that map and transportation based apps can easily incorporate this data into their platforms.

“We are in a pivotal moment for bike share – one where technological advancements make bike share a more accessible form of transportation and easier to use than ever before.” said President of NABSA, Nicole Freedman. “The bike share industry has the opportunity to more seamlessly integrate into other forms of public transportation and trip-planning apps with the data GBFS offers.”

BICO uses real-time intelligence to understand and predict demand while communicating where bicycles need to be redistributed to drivers via a mobile App. It removes the need for manual processes and decision making, eradicating the need for operators to try and predict the constantly changing demand across the scheme. This means better service for customers, greater efficiency in operations, and the ability to scale and grow bike share schemes in a consistent way.

“Data drives innovation. The GBFS integration gives access to data around new scenarios and behavioural patterns within Bike Share schemes. That helps us to develop new solutions and gives our machine algorithms vital data for optimising bike share schemes in participating cities but also around the world,” said Francois McDonald, Solutions Director at Stage Intelligence.

About Stage Intelligence

Stage Intelligence specialises in developing Artificial Intelligence solutions for the transport and logistics industry. Its flagship solution, BICO, delivers real-time intelligence for bike distribution. BICO enables automated and optimal decision-making and has been purpose-built to remove the complexity from managing resources, delivering distribution tasks directly to Field Operatives on demand. 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

Gaining New Insights by Capturing Global Data

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Solving City Transport with Artificial Intelligence 

While there is currently no one international body that runs bike share schemes, members of the North American Bikeshare Association (NABSA) have developed an open standard for schemes across North America, and made its data available for public use.

The open data standard, GBFS (General Bikeshare Feed Specification), means that anyone can access the data, and makes life much easier for app and software developers such as ourselves to create new innovative ideas for bike share schemes globally. A unified data feed now enables us to access data without coding too much.

 We have integrated the GBFS with our BICO system to capture new intelligence and make the BICO recommender smarter, ultimately improving customer experience. As the data drives the decision making process in real-time, it is important to know the status of the network at any given moment and be able to make informed decisions. The unified data source enables bike share schemes to be more proactive and innovative in certain cities by reviewing real-time data.

Now that there is a standardised way of seeing the data across North America, we can easily discover what makes certain bike share schemes work, why people struggle in others, if there are size or distribution issues, and how they can be overcome. It enables us to look at real-time traffic data and provide recommendations easily for schemes looking to set up or grow and become more efficient.

It allows systems like the BICO recommender to identify where the bikes in each scheme go, where they come from, and any seasonal trends that develop such as in summertime near parks and major landmarks, and decline in winter.

It will also impact users as we are also looking to improve customer experience and change the perception of transport. We can start to reduce the traffic on the roads and think about our future as a community. We can also promote the health benefits of bike share schemes by reducing pollution, as well as improving the fitness of those using the bike share schemes. 

Despite its niche market placement, bike share schemes generate and share large amounts of data for free, spurring innovative solutions such as TransitApp as developers have access to the data they need to build these apps.

However, other modes of transport don’t currently share this open approach and therefore chances of development for more efficient systems are stunted. Where data isn’t openly available, developers can’t advance technologies and create solutions for users getting around cities. With open integration in other modes of transport, we can look to create faster, integrated transport solutions and evolve our smart cities.

Version 6 of BICO is released.

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BICO v6 Supports usability measures for cycle scheme performance

Version 6 provides additional map views in the BICO operator console to help operators to make optimal logistics decisions.

These new map views helps operators visualise the logistics task in more dimensions than the standard map view and helps to support more user oriented service level agreements.

EXISTING VIEW – Station Status View

The BICO console has always had the Empty Full Station Status map view that highlights the empty and full status of stations on a map.

Standard View

This view shows how BICO supports and optimises scheme performance for traditional service level agreements such as docking station Empty / Full measures and penalties.

NEW VIEWS IN VERSION 6

Two new map views have been added to Version 6; Usability & Unpreparedness these views support additional scheme performance measures of Usability.

Usability view

Usability is a measure of scheme performance that Stage Intelligence has developed as a method of efficiently servicing zones within a cycle hire scheme.

Useability View

The usability measure focuses on the user experience, so that with a defined walking distance there is access to a docking station to hire or park.

Usability stops the over servicing or under servicing of areas/zones.

Unpreparedness View

This view is similar to the standard view except that the unpreparedness view shows more detail behind the level of empty full.

Unpreparedness

This view is particularly useful to help identify potential problems in zones before they become a problem and helps the operator take pre-emptive action.

This view also demonstrates the predictive nature of BICO.