Bicycle-Sharing Pooling Services: An Android Application

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In recent years, bicycle-sharing systems have been widely deployed in many big cities, which provide an economical and healthy lifestyle. Bicycles are often advantageous compared to smoky vehicles, e.g. it can be used as a government program for reducing carbon emissions as well as minimizing the noise levels in the city. Moreover, bicycles can be used as an alternative transportation for tourists who want to explore the surroundings. This paper discusses the design and implementation of Bicycle Pooling Services, which is a bicycle rental system that involves inbuilt, i.e. reserved parking stations.


Bicycle pooling services are the key to sustainable mobility. Our android application consists of various pick up stations which can be selected by the user as per his own convenience and can book a cycle accordingly. It also comprises of a map which can be used by the user to view nearby parking/pick-up stations. It can also be used as a complementary mode to other public transit such as buses, local trains and can be introduced in smart cities, in the near future. The availability of bicycles and distance to nearest stations are the main characteristics. The choice is made by the user according to his destination from different stations. Bicycle-sharing systems eliminate the inconvenience of bicycle ownership and the need to find parking places.

A key aspect of this system is that, it does not involve intermediaries between users and bicycle. Reserving and acquiring will be done through the Android application running on the users’ smartphones and releasing a bicycle lock will be done manually by the user. Smart city’s demand for energy-efficient transport system also emphasizes on sharing system for utilization of vehicles like bicycles. The sharing bicycle system has various benefits like appropriate resource management, reduced pollution, etc., which leads to improved health. In the recent years popularity of a bicycle sharing program has shown a vital growth. Another reason being, it is easily accessible and economical in promoting short-term bicycle rental system. Tourists are also able to enjoy hassle free travel without changing multiple busses and trains. Cities managing development and urban living culture are facing major challenges in their daily lives.

Based on statistical data of 2007, half of the population of the world was living in cities. UN population fund forecasts, that by the end of 2030 nearly 60% of the world population would live their lives in cities. Air quality, environmental crisis and transportation issues are the major problems that can be outlined. As the use of motor vehicles is increasing, problems such as congestion, accidents, loss of amenity and space, noise, air pollution, energy consumption have an adverse effect on the natural environment. In future, use of the bicycle as transport should be the transportation solution for cities as it has no adverse effects on the environment.

Literature Review

Bicycle Sharing System

It is important to distinguish between three different generations of bicycle sharing services. According to several authors there are three generations of different type of services of bicycle sharing: free bicycle systems, coin-deposit systems and information technology-based systems (Shaheen, Guzman, & Zhang, 2010), (Wang, Liu, Zhang, & Duan, 2008) and (DeMaio, 2009).

Free Bicycle Sharing Systems

The free bicycle sharing system features a set of bicycles with unusual colors that are available for free to the user. The stations are located near public facilities that have their own staff which are responsible for the user’s identification, reducing the needs of human resources of the system. The use of the bicycle is free to the user. The free bicycle sharing began in Amsterdam with the first generation of White bicycles (Witte Fietsen). However, White bicycles (Witte Fietsen) failed due to thefts and bicycle damages.

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Coin Deposit Systems

In the coin-deposit systems the bicycles are not freely available, once the users have to use a coin to unlock the bicycle from the docking stations. The coin-deposit systems of bicycle sharing program was born in Farsø and Grenå, and Nakskov, Denmark, respectively. The first large scale example of the coin-deposits system of bicycle sharing program was developed in Copenhagen. The coin-deposit system still did not solve the theft problem.

Information Technology Based Systems

This information technology-based systems use smart technology such as mobile phones, magnetic-stripe cards, smart-cards or codes to unlock the bicycles from the stations. The casual users have to pay a security deposit to ensure the return of the bicycle, and the use of the bicycles is paid depending on the time interval of the usage of the service. This system is simple and easy to manage in terms of human resources, but requires a higher investment in technology. Some of the great advantages of the information technology-based system are, it is possible to use it for 24-hour service, it is easy to locate the stations in the city and the data collection about the usage of the bicycle sharing service is easier.

Demand of Studies for Cycling and Bicycle Sharing

One of the most important concerns of the urban transportation planners is to provide the most adequate response to traveler’s needs, estimating transportation demand and its variation. Urban transportation planners are also aware of the strong relation between transportation and usage of land. It is very complex and risky to predict the number of bicycle trips, especially in cities where the bicycle is not yet widely used. One of the methods to determine bicycle demand that is more frequently referred, is the Latent Demand Score Method (Landis, 1996) and it is especially adapted in cases where bicycles are not yet a popular choice. The Latent Demand Score Method (Landis, 1996) provides a coefficient of potential demand for bicycle trips throughout a transportation network based on the influence of famous points in the city on the number of bicycle rides for all road segments. One of the advantages of the Latent Demand Score Method (Landis, 1996) model is that it acts as a geographic information system. However, the trips estimated are not directional, i.e. the method considers the total number of the trips that were generated and attracted.

The current studies or real-world applications use ‘revealed’ or ‘stated’ preference surveys as methods for bicycle sharing systems’ demand estimation. In the cases of bicycle sharing system’s expansion, the revealed surveys can be very useful; however, in some cases the responses to the surveys can be strategic and may not reflect the real intentions of the interviewer. Survey results must be used with care and mainly be used in the cases where similar services were not yet implemented. To avoid the constraints caused by the surveys, the demand modelling approach will study different bicycle-share systems, defining the profile of the users and potential users, the factors that can influence the demand such as the geographical conditions, the variation of demand during the day or over the seasons, and the traveler’s characteristic age; sex, and/or job, etc. and how they affect it.

Proposed System

The proposed system is an android based application that provides bicycles on rental and sharing basis. This system involves renting a bicycle from nearby parking stations. This system is a dock-less system and is proposed to be used on existing parking grounds. This will lead to minimal external infrastructure, less commotion and pollution. This system consists of three parts viz. Android application, website and a database.

Android application: Through this android application, the user can book a bicycle and select a station of his choice, based on his starting point and destination point. After booking the ride and on reaching the selected station, he needs to scan the QR code by which an OTP will be generated for him to unlock the cycle. Once the QR code is scanned, the cycle needs to be unlocked manually by the user by the lock code provided to him. On reaching the destination parking station the user has to select the end trip button in the application to end his journey and lock the cycle. On clicking the end trip button, a bill be generated on the basis of the time taken to travel between the two points. A payment gateway is used for online transaction. The basic need of the application is an active internet connection along with GPS to be turned on in order to provide live tracking to the user.

  • Website: The website is particularly for the administrator to view and update the details of the user and the bicycle. The website will include an administrator login. Once the administrator logs in, he will be able to add, delete or modify the bicycle details as well as the parking stations.
  • Database: The database will consist of the data that was provided by the user during registration and will also include the location of the source and destination along with the timestamp and payment details.

Limitations And Future Scope

Bicycle pooling services is an Android based bicycle rental and sharing application. The proposed system consists of a manual locking system which makes the cycles vulnerable to theft. In future modules, electronic locking systems can be used along with dynamic QR codes in order to prevent theft. The proposed system can be used in smart cities and can also be used by tourists to explore a city. It can be used by locals for their daily commute. More payment gateways can be added in future modules for the convenience of the user. This application is useful only for bicycle.


This system uses android platform which provides bicycles for pooling services. The user will scan the QR code. Upon scanning, an OTP is generated which will be able to unlock the bicycle manually from the parking station. Depending upon the time taken to reach the destination a bill will be generated, which can be paid through the payment gateway. At the end of the trip the user will have to return to the parking station and select the lock button, to lock the bicycle manually. This will lead to less traffic congestion and promote a greener environment. It uses the existing parking spaces and thus solves parking issues and the need for extra infrastructure. The main objective of this project is to develop a low-cost user-friendly system. It can be implemented as a part of Smart Cities.

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