Bike services in Lyon
Velo'v is a bicycle rental service run by the city of Lyon, France, in conjunction with the advertising company JCDecaux. Bikes can be borrowed at something like 350 stations such as the following one. Access is via both credit card and a subscription system (card purchased on-line or in some shops. Rentals last from few minutes to 24 hours. The system has now been also introduced in Paris (Veli'b)
What is intriguing is to look at the flourishing birth of artifacts, services and event generated around this velo'v sytem. Some are developed by JC Decaux, like these ad-billboard augmented with information regarding the stations in the vicinity as well as the number of free bikes they have:
People interested in the density of bike station can have a glance at poster/ads in the cities (such as the one shown below) but using this google-map mash-up to locate the nearest bike station.
And of course, the digital domain has also been invested with a "virtual" velov racing game designed last year and beamed on huge screen during a city festival.
Why do I blog this? some concrete examples to me of basic urban computing services; very pragmatic but it's interesting to follow their evolution. I bet JCDecaux have lots of ideas handy up its sleeve and it would be interesting to know more about it. There are lots of curious tracks to investigate, about (for example) the traces of interactions in the city. all the stats they collect can be employed of build applications of interest to the users but also to urban planners (+ to improve the service).
What does velo'v pattern would say about city usage? How to represent city usage through that? I haven't seen visulization so far but that would be great material to conduct interviews with bike users to understand how they "use the city". For example, I'd be interested in knowing how they model their path in the city and if they change their behavior based on certain information (+ how do they access these information'). Lots of stuff to discuss here.