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Intel employees set to launch ‘Open Bike Initiative’ on Hillsboro campus

Posted by on June 18th, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Employees at Hillsboro-based Intel Corporation are spearheading an effort to make bike sharing less expensive and more widely available. Using their own volunteer time, a group of employees at the company have been working on the Open Bike Initiative since January. I’ve heard murmurs about the effort for months and they just released some bare-bones details at OpenBikeInitiative.org.

Key advisors on the Open Bike project include Nike, the Westside Transportation Alliance, the Community Cycling Center, Portland State University, and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance.

According to the website, the main objective of the effort is to design a low-cost device that incorporates GPS/cell data and a locking mechanism that can be attached to any standard, off-the-shelf bike. Then they’ll create software that allows the bikes to communicate and be managed as a system via an online portal. The final step will be to freely distribute the results of their work and experiences with an open-source license.

Intel’s motivation is clear: Some buildings on their sprawling Hillsboro campus are over 3.5 miles apart. That’s too far to walk and the perfect distance for a bicycle ride. Here’s more from the Open Bike site:

If successful, the project could provide a template for a new bike sharing model that could be implemented (relatively) easily and (relatively) inexpensively, even by small organizations. Most current bike sharing programs utilize expensive kiosks and costly custom bicycles, and require services from a single vendor. The few emerging “smart lock” based systems eliminate the need for kiosks, but continue to use custom bicycles and proprietary software and services from a specific vendor. This project envisions a model that utilizes standard bikes with minor “do it yourself” modifications and free software. Organizations like corporations, university campuses, housing projects and the like may be able to implement a bike sharing program completely on their own, or new vendors may emerge to supply particular components (e.g., bicycles, control devices, software management, load balancing and maintenance services, etc.). Our hope is that this will result in a significant increase in the number of bike sharing programs, with corresponding environmental, health and economic benefits.

On July 8th, Intel plans to launch a pilot implementation of the system with 30 bicycles on their Ronler Acres and Hawthorne Farms campuses in Hillsboro. They expect to have the technology “fully functioning” by late this summer.

Will this disrupt the current bike share market? Can it work on a larger scale? Stay tuned for more on this exciting project. I’m planning to visit Intel tomorrow for an exclusive look at the science and the people behind the initiative.

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Chris McnallyJonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)was carlessAlan 1.0anon1q2w3e4r5t Recent comment authors
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BellaBici
Guest

I was just reading about this for the past couple of days. Certainly a different, and very feasible, approach to bike share implementation.

Unfortunately, both articles have the same title, that may be slightly confusing:

Inventropolis: Bikeshare’s Technological Shift, by Joe Schumpeter

E3 Think: Bikeshare’s Technological Shift, by Tom Glendening

Exciting news!

Heather
Guest

I couldn’t be more excited about OBI and the implications it could have for large suburban campuses. Brad Biddle of Intel is providing amazing leadership to bring this pilot project to fruition. It’s exciting to see such innovation regarding transportation options coming out of Washington County. Now let’s make sure the infrastructure exist to support this low-cost, open-source, innovative last-mile solution.

wsbob
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wsbob

This project raises some questions which the Intel employees voluntarily lending their efforts to the Open Bike Initiative may have answers to, or ideas about. Such as, how many people are employed at the two Intel Hillsboro plants where the project will be tried out, and how many of them have regular need of traveling from one plant to the other on any given day. Just 30 bikes are planned for the pilot project.

Citing stats used in Oregonian articles, the wikipedia page for Hillsboro: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillsboro,_Oregon
…says Intel plants in the area employ about 16,000 people. This Intel page says the company has a total of 7 plants in Hillsboro and Beaverton. I wonder what percent of that 16,000 work force live within a 2-3 mile biking distance from the Intel plant branch they work at, and do in fact bike to work.

Spiffy
Guest

I enjoyed the multi-mile walks around Ronler Acres… but sometimes I’d wished I had a bike to get across and back quickly…

Hawthorne Farm isn’t big enough to need bikes, it’s 3 central buildings all interconnected… nobody goes outside…

Lynne
Guest

It is apparently for blue badge (Intel employees) only. I work AT Intel (not to be confused with FOR Intel); can’t get to the page. That said, the RA campus is HUGE. Sometimes workers have meetings at other campuses (HF and JF), and there is no inter-campus shuttle. Car parking at RA can be challenging. Easier to park a bike 🙂 Nike has shared bikes; again, quicker and easier to bike to a meeting across campus or to/from one of the off-campus leased buildings.

My unofficial survey (looking at the bike racks) shows that a tiny fraction of workers ride bikes to work at RA. The racks are full; there just aren’t many of them. I ride a couple times a week, 20 miles RT.

Peter W
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Peter W

This is perfect timing considering that Washington County is just starting to develop modal plans for their TSP update and will be doing so over the summer. I’d love to see more ideas for how the county’s planning efforts could support more use of bike sharing systems.

Alan 1.0
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Alan 1.0

Cool stuff…could this be what anon1q2w3e4r5t alludes to superceding present bike share systems? But even so, it won’t be rolled out en masse for years, giving time for a conventional system to be amortized. It has problems that a conventional system already solves, especially in more hostile environments than a corporate campus (bike durability, load balancing, concentrated repairs, non-member rental). I’m not holding my breath on this concept, I just hop on and enjoy bike shares in whatever form I find them.

john
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john

I just moved out to Hillsboro and work downtown. So far I haven’t been out on the bicycle, but I’ve been walking about a mile to the max stop. And here’s my impressions:
1. Lots and Lots of traffic driving silly fast. (fancy cars going well over 50 in 35 zones).
2. I am the ONLY person walking at about 630 to 7 am on my way to the max or on the walk home at 5:30 pm.
3. I have seen Maybe 1 or 2 cyclists, in that hour of walking.
4. In my 4 walks, 2 near incidents, cars racing through right turns, etc.. This is in broad daylight. Oh they saw me, but obviously didn’t give a sh!t. Holy crap.
That said at least they have sidewalks and some bike lanes unlike Beaverton.
My impression is that its really hard to walk or ride, when driving is made so incredibly easy and convenient. Lots of money out there so price of fuel is obviously not an issue either.

was carless
Guest
was carless

I don’t know about this, I still want a “big boy” system for Portland. We’re a world class cycling city, after all.

was carless
Guest
was carless

Ah, didnt realize it was for campuses. Why don’t they just buy a whole bunch of bikes like google did, and spread them (and bike racks) around campus? Too easy?

30 bikes/16,000 employees = not much!

Chris Mcnally
Guest
Chris Mcnally

This idea is similar to SoBi http://socialbicycles.com

But SoBi has proprietary bikes and locks.

This sounds like a good solution for a place like Amsterdam or Copenhagen, where everyone is riding personally owned bikes and so they are left parked for hours at a time. With Obi, you could have fewer bikes because instead of sitting unused ppeople would be using the same bike for several trips per day.