Trend-setting Tulsa

This somehow passed me by: although I knew that SmartBikeDC is set to launch Real Soon Now (apparently permitting problems have delayed its launch from March) and will therefore probably be the first bike-sharing program I’ll get to use, the real prize for the first “smart bike sharing” system in the country goes to… the Tulsa Townies, which launched last spring.

Visitors pick up bikes (Trek Limes) by swiping a credit card at one of four automated, 24-hour Cyclestation locationsalong the Tulsa River greenway.

The off-the-shelf technology from QI Systems Inc. cost its sponsor a mere $300,000. Even more interestingly, the sponsor is a local health foundation and hospital started by “a pioneer Oklahoma oilman.” QI has also helped to launch a bike-sharing scheme at Humana headquarters in downtown Louisville, which may expand to the general public.

Arlington, using a $200,000 VDOT grant, is going with Nextbike, which uses mobile phone payments and offered its services to Arlington at $750 per bike [PDF of staff recommendation memo]. (via WashCycle)

Update 25 Sep 08: Montreal’s parking authority, Stationnement de Montréal, is also offering up its Bixi system as a turnkey solution for other cities. One key advantage: solar-powered kiosks, which prevents the nasty electric-company issues that delayed SmartBikeDC for months.

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