There has been a significant rise in bike-share schemes as cities around the world work to move away from car-centered streets. Some cities are using bike-share schemes as a means to tackle environmental challenges, while in other cities, they are being used as an alternative to or in tandem with public transport in an effort to solve issues revolving around the last mile. By bringing the AI-equipped bike-share platform BICO to Guadalajara, the city is joining others in developing a bike-share scheme that will enable residents to navigate the city comfortably and efficiently on two wheels.

Stage Intelligence, a bike-share solutions provider based in the United Kingdom, announced on February 7 its partnership with BKT bicipública, the Central American bike-share operator, to deploy the BICO platform in Guadalajara. BKT operates the bike-share system that currently exists in Guadalajara and the company is looking to integrate AI capabilities into the system to maximize riders’ cycling experience and the scheme’s efficiency. The collaboration was announced at the i-Mobility week in 2017.

The collaboration between the two companies is the result of wanting to use AI to provide BKT with insight on improving services and addressing some of the scheme’s challenges. The partnership between BKT and Stage Intelligence will be the first time a bike-share scheme uses AI in Mexico. Aside from its AI-equipped BICO platform, BKT selected Stage Intelligence to collaborate on the bike-share project in order to maximize the cyclist experience in Guadalajara.

In a press release, Director at BKT bicipública, Mario Delgado, spoke about the kinds of improvements the partnership brings to Guadalajara’s bike-share system. “BICO has been very useful for the improvement of our services, the performance of our staff and the understanding of the system. We are very happy to have integrated it into our tools for the operation,” he said.

BKT’s semi-automated bike-share system, BIKLA, began operations in Guadalajara in 2006 and, until the end of its operations in 2012, had about 40 dock stations and served 5,000 users across the city. In 2014, the company started its current bike-share system, MIBICI, which started out with 116 stations and 1,260 bikes, reaching a total of 236 stations and more than 2,000 bikes. The company also began work on another bike-share platform called Huizi in the City of Toluca de Lerdo in the State of Mexico in 2015.

The partnership between Stage Intelligence and BKT was facilitated by the British Embassy in Mexico, highlighting how these kind of collaborations can bring innovative solutions to problems faced around the world. Manuel Mandujano, officer of trade and investment at the Embassy in Mexico, thinks that the new collaboration highlights how these collaborations can make cities greener and more innovative.

According to a report by Velo Citta, in making cities more efficient and less polluted and diversifying economic activity, bike-share schemes have multiple benefits for cities and city residents. The report highlights that bike-share schemes help solve problems related to the last mile of urban transport, and that they can significantly decrease car usage when presented as a sustainable alternative to driving. More importantly, the report’s findings emphasize that, when bike-share schemes are implemented with user experience and efficacy in mind, the benefits that can be reaped from cities investing in them are endless.