Automated Underground Bike Storage Technology

Giken-Eco-Cycle-Underground-Bike-Park-1.jpgSustainability issue: Energy, Safety & Health

Air pollution in cities results in thousands of premature deaths annually. Vehicles have a large role to play in air pollution levels. In addition to impacting human life span directly, vehicle emissions also contribute to climate change. From both a health and environmental perspective, biking is one of the simplest and most sustainable forms of transportation. Cities around the world are increasingly incentivizing the use of biking, yet in some places, residents feel discouraged by the insufficient of infrastructure and space for parking bikes. For instance, many receive fines for “illegally” parking bikes or do not feel comfortable leaving their bike in a public space due to theft or vandalism. Bicycles can also spoil surrounding sights and bother emergency services, such as ambulances and fire fighters.


  • ECO Cycle is an underground automatic mechanical bicycle parking system that was created in Japan. The company now also produces mobile overground bike parking systems. Tokyo has numerous ECO cycle stations across cities which incentivizes commuters/residents to buy and use their bikes. In Tokyo, 14% of all journeys are made by bicycle, compared to 2% in London and 1% in New York.
  • The technology includes a small entrance booth with a dropping-off/retrieving system automated by computer control. Each bike is fitted with an IC tag which is scanned when the bicycle is presented at the booth. The bicycle then goes down a rotating column and is stored in an empty rack underground. Each bicycle-owner also receives an IC card that must be presented to retrieve the bike. Once the IC card is scanned, the system takes 13 seconds on average to retrieve a bicycle.
  • This technology saves space due to its compact design and can be used all over cities due to the small entrance booth design. The system is also anti-seismic.
  • This fully automated system also eliminates the risk of theft or vandalism as it is a protected and inaccessible underground system. It also protects the equipment from rain and other damaging weather.

Article title: Forget the bike locker, ECO Cycle stores your bike under the ground
Website name: City of Future


  • Giken (parent company)
  • Residents/communities
  • Japanese city planners/government/council
  • Other cities
  • Large corporates


  • Company should seek to roll out this technology in other cities across the world by targeting bike-friendly cities. The first target city should be Amsterdam.
  • The company should promote the technology by showcasing its use and accomplishments in Japan. It should then develop partnerships with city government and planners, as well as a range of other stakeholders through the Amsterdam Smart City initiative.
  • The next step would be to target other bike-friendly European cities such as Stockholm and Copenhagen. It should also start dialogue with large corporates to establish their interest in having an on-site private access to the technology.

5 thoughts on “Automated Underground Bike Storage Technology

  1. In response to: “Scientists Create Robotic Replacements for Declining Bee Populations”. The decline of bee populations is certainly a concern for our economy and food security – especially considering a growing human population. The idea of robotic bee replacements is fascinating and could help pollination and reduce heightened risks for crops. However, my questions is can these robotic bees fully replace the other important role of bees as a species in the food chain? Surely there are multiple impacts of losing bees that would remain unaddressed …


  2. This concept of storage is pretty amazing in high density environments and of course next to nowhere in the United States will this ever generate enough users to financially justify it but it’s really amazing to think it could be part of a future “smart” city plan. In Boulder, CO there are a lot of bikers and some amazing bike lock options in cage-like structures near the train stations and public transit. A scaled down version of this but one applicable in the United States.


  3. This is an amazing concept. The best part of the automated underground bike storage system, aside from its sharp design, is its success in making green cities and automated storages more attainable. It’s a scalable project, and the methodology that would be developed in this concept could be applied to a different place, with minor variations. Hopefully, this design will soon take flight and become a symbol of practical, green parking near and far.


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