In DepthMathematics

Wheels when you need them

Science  22 Aug 2014:
Vol. 345, Issue 6199, pp. 862-863
DOI: 10.1126/science.345.6199.862

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Summary

Many of the bike-sharing systems introduced around the world in the past 15 years have the same problem: Riders tend to take some routes and not others. As a result, the bikes tend to collect in a few places, which is a drag for users and a costly problem for the operators, who "rebalance" the system using trucks that take bikes from full stations to empty ones. Now, scientists are coming up with special algorithms to improve this process. One of them, developed by scientists at the Vienna University of Technology and the Austrian Institute of Technology, is now being tested in Vienna's bike-sharing system; another, developed at Cornell University, is already in use in New York City.

  • * in Vienna

  • Chelsea Wald is a science writer in Vienna.