Initial project description

January 20, 2009

A City bike service connecting the cultural landscape of Umeå

Is a project that aims at opening up the cultural landscape of Umeå to visitors, as well as providing a convenient, enjoyable and sustainable means of transp0rtation to the citizens of Umeå that promotes the joys of bicycling

Umeå is ideal for bicycling, few steep hills, small geographical extension 180km of bicycle paths and an additional 160km of trekking paths make perfect conditions for bicycling all over Umeå.
For the 29.000 students of Umeå University as well as for many who live and work in the city, the daily transportation of choice is by bicycle even in the winter season. For this reason the number of bicycles in Umeå is high, but unfortunately also bicycle thefts. The common sight of abandoned bicycles in Umeå bears witness to this fact. A city bike service could help promoting bicycling as well as preventing bicycle theft.

Apart from being a great means of daily transportation bicycling is an excellent way to experience Umeå, the distances to cover are within bicycle range, and the most beautiful routes are accessible only on foot or on bicycle. On a bike it is easy to go from the museums at Gammlia though the beautiful town center and along the river on the scenic bicycle route Umeleden that connects historical sites with modern art exhibitions.

Being the cultural capital of northern Sweden Umeå has thousands of visitors each year, both regular visitors who come to Umeå often for culture and shopping. And conference guests or tourists who spend some days in Umeå with time to explore the shops and sights of Umeå and maybe more importantly experience the atmosphere of this northern hub with its weave of old and new, city and nature.

Is an exploratory project looking into the possibilities of enhancing the bicycle culture of Umeå and connecting the city tighter together by providing a system of public bikes for the residents and visitors in Umeå. A vision for what a public bike system for Umeå would look like and how it would work.
Aside from the design of the bicycle itself there are many questions to be answered.

-How would this system promote Umeå culture and sustainable transportation?

-Who are the users and how are they reached?

-How should a payment/return system work?

-How should it be connected to the public transportation?

-Could the system include updateable/interactive information about Umeå?

-What would the practical implications of public bikes in Umeå be?
The goal of the project is to design a public bicycle system tailored to Umeå with the purpose of promoting culture and sustainable transportation. This reliable and accessible extension of the public transportation system in Umeå has the purpose of enhancing the convenience of bicycling in Umeå, both for citizens and visitors who will have a new, healthy, sustainable and beautiful way of getting around the city.

A well designed solution for a publicly available and very visible system like this will enhance the design profile of Umeå that is home to one of the top design educations in the world.

The project should be realizable before 2014 to support the ambition of being European cultural capital.