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Applying Mathematics to Urban Bicycle Accommodation

February 7, 2011 

Tal Raviv, Michal Tzur, and Tel Aviv University students have developed a mathematical model to try to diminish problems associated with bike sharing in major urban centers.


"Bike stations in urban centers are managed imperfectly, based on what the station managers see. They use their best guesses to move bikes to different locations around the city using trucks," observed Raviv. "There is no system," he claimed, "for more scientifically managing the availability of bikes, creating dissatisfaction among users."

The model is based on methods and algorithms that deal with routing and scheduling problems of trucks that move fleets, as well as operational and design challenges within such systems.

In small towns with about 100 stations, manpower can deal with most bike-related issues, the researchers noted. The TAU model, however, would aid in predicting when and which bike stations should be refilled and emptied in such cities as Paris, which has 1,700 pick-up and drop-off stations, and New York, which soon might have double or triple that number.

The model was outlined at last November's annual meeting of the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Sciences (INFORMS), in Austin, Texas.

Source: Expanding the Future (January 31, 2011) 

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Start Date: 
Monday, February 7, 2011

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