QUEST Students Win Award at Maryland Day
WeBike is a bike-sharing system similar in arrangement to the popular ZipCar
car-sharing system. Students pay a semester-long subscription fee to rent bikes,
check them out of a WeBike station on campus, and return them when they’re finished.
The stations are solar-powered, and the bikes also have a power source for accessories
Bike storage can be a problem for students living in dorms, so bike-sharing provides
a great way for students to have the benefit of a bike on campus without the hassle
of finding a place to keep it. WeBike’s founders say hope to “reduce automobile
use and to promote fun, innovative, progressive, and green transportation” for fellow
students. It’s a system that would work for any enclosed community, says Allison
Armitage, like suburban neighborhoods, corporate campuses, retirement communities,
and perhaps could eventually be scaled to cities.
Currently the system uses RFID technology with swipe-cards to manage bike check-out
and check-in, but Armitage would like to be able to embed the technology into a
bracelet or keychain—something students can wear or carry around with them, so the
option to check out a bike is always available when it is needed.
Armitage is excited about WeBike’s future, not just as a business but as a community-building
activity. “People seemed to be excited about the initiative and what it could do
for campus,” says Armitage. “It’s not only a great form of transportation that allows
people to get where they want to go much more quickly and conveniently, it’s also
fun and would foster community around the biking—rides, events, races where people
can connect with each other.”