Project [viaStation]: Empowering New User Access to Bike-Shares in Smaller Markets
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In November of 2011, Georgia Tech welcomed its first automated bike-sharing service. Since then the founders at viaCycle have continued to expand and improve their platform. However, after opting against on-site kiosks due to their low cost, low infrastructure approach, it has been difficult to accelerate new-user adoption and readily assess its scalable impacts. This project intends to eliminate that particular barrier by proposing an alternative kiosk system that utilizes a minimal amount of infrastructure while potentially transforming the platform’s accessibility and service design. The success of such an intervention could help pave the way for a new era in bike sharing where the ability to implement modern systems in smaller, yet needy markets is a viable reality. The major collaborators in the project were viaCycle, Georgia Tech’s Parking & Transportation office, and campus transit awareness groups. The primary research included readings on the state of art, case studies, several stakeholder interviews and participatory evaluations. Currently it is well understood that, for the context of Georgia Tech, the solution needs to be relatively cost effective in terms of parts and implementation. That said, it remains to be seen what transportation niche viaCycle and the university would like the service to fill in particular; this has many implications for the incorporation of possible ‘viaStations’. Second, it is important to better understand how to impact the perception of bike sharing, whether having a centralized access channel/structure versus a dispersion of ‘channels’. To approach these there is a need to identify the most prominent themes and heuristics, which will also go far in leading successful concept implementations.