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The Science of Bike-Sharing

By American Friends of Tel Aviv University

February 2, 2011

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Tel Aviv University researchers are developing a mathematical model to help new urban bike-sharing systems operate more efficiently. Bike-sharing systems have gained popularity in European cities and are being studied for potential future use in U.S. cities, but they can generate user frustration when certain stations run out of bikes.

"There is no system for more scientifically managing the availability of bikes, creating dissatisfaction among users in popular parts of the city," says Tel Aviv University's Tal Raviv, who is designing the model with professor Michal Tzur. The model predicts which bike stations need to be refilled or emptied, and when that action needs to take place. "Our research involves devising methods and algorithms to solve the routing and scheduling problems of the trucks that move fleets, as well as other operational and design challenges within this system," says Raviv, who is part of a group of researchers to try to solve bike-sharing management problems using mathematical models and algorithmic solutions.

From American Friends of Tel Aviv University
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