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‘Iskolar’ on ‘smart’ bikes: UP students press pedal for car-less campus

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‘Iskolar’ on ‘smart’ bikes: UP students press pedal for car-less campus

By: - Reporter / @erikaINQ
/ 12:16 AM August 13, 2015

Care for a car-less campus? Having “smart” bikes can be a good start.

In support of a plan for a vehicle-free academic oval on the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman campus, a student group has started developing a bike-sharing system that will eventually use wireless technology for tracking and security.

“The model we are developing allows students to use their ID numbers to lock and unlock bikes,” said Miguel Laperal, president of UP Bike Share. “By making bikes more accessible, reliable and commonplace, we hope to ease congestion for a greener Diliman campus.”

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UP Bike Share, an advocacy group composed of engineering, design and art students, is currently conducting a feasibility study aimed at understanding user behavior. The study involves 25 bikes and 50 students, mostly residents of the Kalayaan, Yakal and Molave dormitories.

The project was showcased during a campus familiarization tour held for UP freshmen on Tuesday by the Alpha Sigma fraternity in partnership with Segway Philippines.

Miguel Alberto Mercado, chief technical officer of UP Bike Share, said the study would also look at ways to deter theft. “One of the strategies is to place trackers on the bike during implementation, which will probably be ready in a year or two.”

The students will be developing a wireless network to track sensors on the bikes. The system will be used to gather data on user behavior and help detect and track down stolen bikes, Mercado said.

As a nonprofit research group, UP Bike Share has sought sponsorships to fund the study and the development of technology. It will be the only group from the country that will make a pitch for the project in the 2015 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Accelerator Summit in Taipei in October, Laperal said.

The UP National Center for Transportation Studies (NCTS) is providing technical support to the project. “From what I understand, NCTS wants the academic oval to be free of (private) vehicles in five years’ time. Satellite parking will be provided for students and they can use public transportation within the campus,” Laperal said, adding that e-trikes and bikes were also being considered as environment-friendly options.

Interested students can sign up for the study. UP Bike Share will also organize a monthly “social bike ride” to build a community of riders. This September, it hopes to take that community on a “food trip” on Maginhawa Street in nearby UP Village.

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TAGS: Iskolar, Miguel Alberto Mercado, Smart Bikes, University of the Philippines Diliman, UP Bike Share, UP Diliman, UP students
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