Award-winning bike center is blueprint for other campuses

The University of Minnesota Bikebikes Center and Parking and Transportation Services (PTS) were recognized in June with an Award of Excellence from the International Parking Institute for the Bike Center and its new RFID (radio-frequency identification) commuter validation program.

The University Bike Center includes things that make bike commuting practical, such as professional and do-it-yourself repair stations, card-accessed 24-hour bike parking, restrooms/showers, and a clothing locker.

As a first-in-the-nation program of this magnitude, the university’s RFID program has the opportunity to break new ground in the promotion and encouragement of bicycle commuting. The program consists of small tags affixed to registered users’ bicycles. RFID receivers installed at strategic locations around campus read and wirelessly transmit the tag information to a server accessible to users and the institution. This system solves the longstanding problem of bicycle commute trip validation and enables employers to offer incentives to bicyclists.

“This program can serve as a blueprint for campuses around the nation,” says Bob Baker, PTS executive director.