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  (Source: FastCompany)
Automated underground bike parking in Japan

Bicycle use is an important part of daily life in Japan; crowded conditions make car use expensive and less convenient than in the west. Finding a place to park your vehicle close to home can involve large monthly fees, and you will be charged a fee every time you use the national highway system.

Bicycles are used for daily grocery shopping, for transporting children, and for getting to the all important train station. Many stations have large bicycle parking lots that can house thousands of bikes and charge a monthly fee for parking. Often the bicycles are parked by side by side up to as many as will fit. It is an expensive space consuming solution for the need for parking. These parking facilities are often manned by 3 to 4 people resulting in a higher monthly fee to pay for their wages.

In response to the need for a better way to park bicycles Giken has developed a multi-tiered storage facility that takes in your bicycle at an automated kiosk and stores it in an underground rotating parking system. According to FastCompany, the service costs 2,600 Yen ($29 USD) per month. A video of the service in action can be seen as a YouTube link in the FastCompany article.

Cost wise, the service is about the same as a traditional parking system, but the main advantage for the user is the quick and labor less retrieval of their bicycle. Normally you would need to walk in to the parking facility and find your bicycle among the hundreds of identical bikes. The space savings are also considerable when compared to a traditional bicycle parking area.



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RE: I don't get it...
By akugami on 12/29/2008 12:37:40 PM , Rating: 4
http://www.dannychoo.com/adp/eng/1630/Japan+Bike+S...

Some better pictures.

My guess is, when you park your bike, you're issued a ticket (one time use) or have a membership card. It'll know which bike is yours by the ticket/card you use to retrieve your bike. The system would simply park bikes on circular platforms with each bike placed on a rack position on those platforms. An arm or other device used to latch onto the bike or the platform the bike is sitting on comes down, pulls the specific rack number corresponding to your bike and lifts it up to the top when you want your bike.


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