Smart city bike detection, UK first

Project Description

Cyclepods have recently completed a project with train operating company, London Midland. This involved the provision of 470 new cycle parking spaces at 6 stations in a limited timescale. These stations were; Watford Junction, Northampton, Bletchley, Walsall and Alvechurch.

London Midland opted for the CapaCITY two-tier system, due in part to the space efficient design. Northampton and Bletchley both had limited space. Cycle parking increased from 58 to 96 at Bletchley and almost doubled at Northampton, from 85 to 160.
There were derelict or redundant areas at three stations, Watford Junction, Walsall and Alvechurch. By clearing these areas and prepping with extensive groundworks, fresh spaces were created for the new cycle storage.

At each of these locations, Cyclepods worked with London Midland to ensure there was space for future growth. Considered planning meant future extensions are possible without relocating the racks and shelters.

As well as cycle storage, there was a need for public cycle pumps and repair stands. These tools allow cyclists to make minor repairs or carry out basic maintenance.

Bike Detection is an optical sensor or pressure sensor driven system to determine occupied or vacant cycle parking space.

London Midland chose optical sensors for their racks. These consist of two cameras that “see” in 3D, each monitoring a section of the racks (around 5-25 spaces). The cameras can then determine occupied vs. free spaces in the racks and feeds this back to a local facility server.

This means real-time information on occupancy is available. This data will show trends in occupancy related to time of day, day of week etc., as well as a potential growth in cycle-rail journeys.

Understanding facility usage is vital in justifying investment in the facilities. This data helps to learn if facilities are in the right place and which racks are more popular than others. It also provides evidence on usage when considering future investment in facilities, particularly useful when negotiating for funding for expanding existing or new facilities.

Abandoned bikes is becoming more common. These are bikes left in racks, taking up valuable spaces from other users. In most cases, a bike is considered abandoned if left for more than two weeks. The optical sensors log where spaces are not vacated in a certain period and notify the system operative to remove abandoned bikes.

A stipulation of this project was delivery of everything within 6 to 8 weeks of the contract signing.

This was an ambitious timescale dictated by London Midland’s franchise end on December 10th 2017. Cyclepods delivered all products within the contracted timescale.

Project Details

Client: London Midland Trains

Tags: Cyclepods, Smart city

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