We recently came across an interesting article by goDGco, an initiative of the District Department of Transportation in Washington DC, which outlined an interesting cycling incentive called ‘The Reverse Rider Rewards program’ to keep the DC cycle system balanced.

The program, which will run from June to August, is aimed at using Capital Bikeshare annual members to distribute bikes from ‘typically full’ stations to ones that are ‘typically empty’ during the weekday morning rush hours. Annual members will earn one point for each cycle journey that starts off at a typically full station (TFS) and ends at typically empty station (TES) – a list of stations and their classifications is provided. The member with the highest points tally at the end of each month will receive a year of free Capital Bikeshare membership for the following year, while the ten runner ups will receive free membership for one month.

From our own experiences of trying to pick up a bike at empty stations, we believe that this kind of incentive is an interesting idea; an idea worth exploring for TFL and other UK cycle networks. At present, the only way to balance the various cycle networks is by hiring a number of trucks each day to move the bikes across the city stations. However, with a cycling inventive like the one proposed by Capital Bikeshare, a percentage of the bike redistribution will be easily carried out by cycle users eager to get the highest points to claim a prize. This will ease some of the strain and workload off the truck drivers and result in better balanced networks during busy commuter periods.