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19-12-2011 - Development and test of technologies


Call a Bike, a flexible BSS has been running in Berlin since 2002. However, usage rates remained comparatively low and customer surveys for Call a Bike revealed problems with user processes (telephone based system), low perceived bike availability and bike visibility.

To improve usage and visibility of Call a Bike, the research project “Call a Bike – Das Stadtrad für Berlin” has been initiated by the operator DB Rent. The project itself is funded by the Federal Ministry of Transport, Building and Urban Development (BMVBS) and supported by State Berlin, Senate Department for Urban Development (SenStadt). Further cooperation partners are local and regional public transport providers, Berliner Verkehrsgesellschaft (BVG), Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg (VBB) and S-Bahn Berlin.

As a result of this research project, a completely new station-based bike sharing with 1,000 bikes at 80 stations in the first expansion phase was implemented in Berlin.

OBIS Activities

Within OBIS, the following activities were supported:

  • Analysis of customer requirements and customer acceptance as a basis for the development of the new scheme: User processes and user satisfaction of the “traditional” Cal a Bike Scheme were the starting point for the evolution of the scheme.

  • Optimisation of station design, layout and location based on international experience: The knowledge transfer in OBIS enabled the involved stakeholders, especially DB Rent, to evaluate and optimize the initial scheme design. European trends and developments as well as recommendations made by the partners helped shaping the final scheme design.

  • Optimisation of user interfaces and user processes based on international experience. Results from technical test and customer surveys collected in other cities fed into the overall improvement of interfaces and processes.
  • Cost analysis for new scheme: A comparison of the former Call a Bike Scheme and the new station-based scheme was carried out.

  • Simplification of implementation processes: A common procedure for the implementation of stations was developed.

  • Improvement of dialogue between involved stakeholders: All relevant stakeholders agreed on a roadmap for the development and implementation of the scheme. The city administration as well as public transport stakeholders were involved in optimising the scheme in close cooperation with the operator DB Rent.

  • Public transport integration with discount tariff for PT card holders: Holders of a local PT card of a card for long distance services receive a discount tariff. The integration of the service into the local PT system is on the agenda for the next years. 

  • Integration of BSS in the Berlin Cycling Strategy: The bike sharing scheme was included in the new Berlin Cycling Strategy published in 2011.

OBIS Impacts

The following overall developments were supported by the OBIS activities:

  • Development of station-based scheme with innovative concrete racks and (partly) solar terminals;
  • Implementation of scheme with (soon) 1,000 bikes and 80 stations;
  • Upgrade of fleet with new bike-lock-technology;
  • New access media: RFID-card, Smartphone App;
  • New tariffs (PT discounts, flat-rate).

OBIS Partners Involved

  • DB Rent;
  • SenStadt;
  • choice.


In December 2008, the City of Milan Administration launched BikeMi, a BSS which has been positively accepted within the city. The first phase comprised 1,400 bikes and 100 stations (2,400 slots). The second phase, planned for autumn 2010, was finally launched in February 2011 with a further 2,250 bikes taking the total to 3,650 bikes. BikeMi is an example of a publicity-based model, with Clear Channel operating and providing the BSS in exchange for advertising rights.

The core of the demonstration is the technical test of a completely new access device for bike sharing and car sharing: Keepod. The device can be “loaded” with applications and access permissions for all different kinds of services and does thus provide a promising basis for the integration of different modes of transport.

OBIS Activities

Within OBIS, the following activities were supported:

  • Political dialogue in Sesto San Giovanni;
  • Development of a marketing concept for a BSS in Sesto San Giovanni;
  • Concept for the integration of bike sharing and car sharing;
  • Technical test of Keepod access device for BikeMi;
  • Concept for the Adoption of Keepod as access medium for car sharing service GuidaMi;
  • Promotion of the new access opportunity.

OBIS Impacts

The following overall developments were supported by the OBIS activities:

  • Feasibility Analysis and political discourse Sesto San Giovanni;
  • Implementation and expansion of BikeMi with 3,650 bikes.

OBIS Partners Involved

  • FLI;
  • CSI.

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