“Rent and Share” in Vilnius: manage public electric bike renting with satnav

The city

Vilnius has a population of approximately 550 000 inhabitants, half of whom use the city’s public transportation system on a regular basis. The city centre and the Old Town are part of the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1994.

The challenge

One of Vilnius’ goals is to become a world leader in making the latest environment friendly transportation technologies widely available. In order to address urban congestion issues, the municipality decided to implement a rent-a-bike scheme for residents and tourists, on the occasion of the Eurobasket 2011 championship in Vilnius.

The “Rent and Share” programme allows residents and tourists to rent electric bicycles at four Tourism Information Centres located in the downtown and Old Town areas. The bike fleet had to be managed efficiently so as to avoid theft and to optimise the renting process for the users.

The satellite solution

The electric “e-orange” bikes are equipped with a built-in satnav system monitoring the whereabouts of the bicycles at any given time. Service managers can localise each bike of the fleet on a digital map, as well as the bikes’ history and reports. It is hence always possible to know which customer was using which bicycle at any given time, the itineraries covered, the number of kilometres driven, the duration of the itineraries and the maximum and average speeds. Such information allows administrators to control how bikes are used and provides a base to further improve the service according to citizens’ transport behaviour and traffic analysis.

The result

The electric bike “Rent and Share” programme is shaping citizens behaviour, encouraging them to adopt more environmentally friendly attitudes. Tracking the bikes with satnav allows the authority to maintain them in good condition and to gain insights into user behaviour to continuously improve the service. The initiative already inspired other similar services in Spain, Italy and the United Kingdom. The next step for Vilnius is a mobile application allowing bike users to easily identify rental points and itineraries.

 “Stimulating biking in Vilnius will improve the quality of the air and change behaviours in the city”.
Irma Juskenaite, Public Relations Department, Vilnius.