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UP students get P15-M grant for smart bike sharing system

MANILA, Philippines – A group of University of the Philippines students will receive almost P15 million from the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to develop a smart bike sharing system that will be the first in Southeast Asia.

Officials of UP Diliman, DOST Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) and student-led organization UP Bike Share on Friday signed the memorandum of agreement for the two-year project.

DOST-PCIEERD executive director Carlo Primo David said they see the project as a showcase for other universities and local government units that the biking community set-up can work in the Philippines.

David noted the positive effects of developing such systems, not just in addressing environment issues but also promoting a healthy lifestyle for Filipinos.

“In the whole of ASEAN, maybe in the whole of Asia, Filipinos are actually the least in terms of average number of steps walked per day. We’re not a walking society,” he said. “Hopefully, with this one, we’ll also promote walking and other means of transport including e-vehicles.”

Established last year, the UP Bike Share is an advocacy group that aims to develop a point-to-point public transportation system inside the UP Diliman campus.

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It initially launched a bike sharing system in the campus involving 72 bikes that registered students can borrow and use around the university.

Miguel Alberto Mercado, one of the founders of the organization, said the fourth generation bike sharing system that they would develop with the grant would be patterned after the one currently operating in Japan.

“A fourth generation bike sharing system is a system where bikes are designed to carry the technology to make operations much easier for both the user and operator,” said Mercado.

Unlike its predecessor, a fourth generation bike sharing system will not require them to develop infrastructure as the technology for monitoring and tracking will already be attached to the bikes.

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