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25 Mar 2019, Edition - 1350, Monday

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Coimbatore

Corporation introducing cycle-sharing to make Coimbatore smarter

Prasath Selvaraj

Bicycle sharing is to come to the City soon. The City Corporation proposes to introduce this healthy, non-polluting bicycle-sharing concept soon as part of Smart City Project.

According to Corporation sources, the concept was started on an experimental basis in Amsterdam with 50 bicycles half a century ago. This idea has grown to over 1.3 million shared cycles in over a 1,000 cities, including Paris, London, New York, Mexico City and Guangzhou. Mysuru and Bhopal have also introduced this system.

Corporation Commissioner K Vijayakarthikeyan told The Covai Post that the request for proposal is part of the Smart City project. With the support from the project management team of Coimbatore Smart City Lte and technical support from urban works department of the Institute for Transport and Development Policy (ITDP), tenders will be floated soon.

This project would help in controlling traffic congestion as also vehicle emission. It would motivate people to go for bicycles instead motor vehicles and promote sustainable mode of transport.

ITDP programme director Aswathy Dilip told The Covai Post that initially 1,000 cycles would be introduced covering 5 sqkm. There would be cycle-sharing stations within a space of 300 m or less.

A fully automated system would be in place so that there would be need to have staff at these stations. A typical station would have space for 12-15 cycles. Stations at some important locations, like public transport terminals, can be larger, with 30-50 cycles placed inside an enclosure, accessed through one or more automated control gates.

She also said technology played a key role in safeguarding cycles from being stolen and giving real time information to users as well as operators. Chips embedded in smart cards or tags at the time of registration should allow users to unlock cycles from automated stations.

Cycle-sharing is set for a boom in India and Coimbatore may be one of the cities that will set an example for others, she said. “This project will complement the city’s other smart city proposals such as rejuvenation of eight lakes and 30 km of eco-mobility corridor as well as other street programmes. Imagine, cycling from one lake to other in Coimbatore and you do not even need to own the cycle anymore,” added Aswathy.

Users can get the information on station and cycle availability through portals and mobile applications.

This system in its first phase will cover 20 sqkm near bus stops, important landmarks, educational institutions, public transport hubs and markets with 140 stations and 1,600 cycles.

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