Proof of concept of a software for the management of bike sharing network’s resources.

Bike sharing systems consist of a network of stations, usually spread out in cities, providing bikes for public use. Some examples are Bicing (Barcelona), Velib (Paris), Bixi (Montreal).

Circle Hop is a software developed to deal with the main problems we can find with the day to day management of a bike sharing network. Since each station has its own behaviour depending on its geographical position, day of the week, hour,etc. and it is highly depending on the particular distribution of bikes and empty slots at a particular time, we consider that the best approach is to constantly perform real time simulations based on real time information of the network state. From historical data we can the  infer traffic behaviour (arrivals and departures) of each station, and reproducing such behavior considering particular situations leads to estimated quantities such as the mean time required to full/empty a station, the number of unsatisfied users (those searching for a bike and not finding it and analogously trying to leave one), etc.

Once we are able to reproduce the network behavior, the simulator can be used to answer important management question such as:

  • Which is the optimum number of bikes a van has to leave/take in order to maximize a station service time?
  • Which are the routes a van has to take in order to maximize global service?
  • If we want to extend the stations, which are the best candidates and how much?