UMT Pronto Data Challenge 2015

published by baileymh

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Fighting Gravity:  uphill stations are sources; downhill stations are sinks
After analyzing trip patterns by membership type, time of day, and month, a clear pattern emerged–most people ride downhill, particularly annual pass holders commuting in the morning. This map of Seattle summarizes the phenomenon. The height of the bars represents net changes in bike accumulation. The green bars represent net gains over the course of the year. The red bars represent net losses. The rest of our analysis attempts to solve this problem without increasing infrastructure costs. The difference between the tallest green bar (Pier 69) and the tallest red bar (E Pine St & 16th Ave) represents a change of 5,441 cycles, an impressive total in a system that has 482 cycles in use.
It's All Uphill from Here
Difficult for members to bike uphill without incurring usage fees
Give additional 15 minutes of free time for elevation changes larger than 200 feet
Many annual members bike downhill in the morning, but do not return by bike
Partner with uphill businesses to offer coupons and discounts to encourage afternoon biking
Annual pass members use Pronto as a utility
Use gamification to incentivize users to bike uphill through the Uphill Challenge  
Uphill Challenge
Mount Rainier 14,409 ft
Mount St. Helens 8,366 ft
Space Needle 605 ft
Snoqualmie Pass 3,022 ft
7 Hills 2,345 ft
The Uphill Challenge is a gamification concept to incentivize members to use Pronto cycles both more frequently and, particularly, for more uphill trips. Over the course of a year all altitude gains for a member will accrue to their account. Prizes will be awarded for surpassing milestones named after Pacific Northwest landmarks.     
Uphill Challenge Rewards
Free Annual Membership!
Bike Water Bottle
Gift a free 24-hour pass
Free Pronto t-shirt or DeFeet socks    
Cycling hat, t-shirt, socks and 5 24 hour passes
Mount Rainier 14,409 ft
Mount St. Helens 8,366 ft
Space Needle 605 ft
Snoqualmie Pass 3,022 ft
7 Hills 2,345 ft
Not all Trips are Created Equal
Analyzing over 140K rides across the year and fitting a duration model based on distance traveled, elevation change, time of day, and month, we generated the following key insights:       Every 100 foot increase in elevation adds 2 minutes to a trip.           Each additional uphill mile adds 11 minutes.       An uphill trip takes 18 minutes longer than an average Pronto trip. Pronto needs bicycles at uphill stations, but is unintentionally penalizing riders who navigate Seattle’s challenging climbs. The thirty-minute riding window limits trips to very short hills. Let’s help elevate our members! By giving riders 15 extra minutes at no cost if their arrival station is more than 200 feet above their departure station, riders could opt-in to a partnership with a fitness app, finding out how long their commute is expected to take and receiving positive feedback if they finish above the median ride time.
Marketing with Uphill Businesses
To implement a more effective and cost-efficient way to manage bike distribution across stations, Pronto Cycles can capitalize on existing assets by engaging and incentivizing customers (particularly annual pass holders) to do this work for them. One of the company’s key assets is its large customer base. Annual members are likely young, active, and educated – a demographic to whom many businesses in the Seattle area are eager to market. With this in mind, our recommendation to Pronto Cycles is leveraging this asset by entering cooperative marketing arrangements with local businesses such as restaurants, bars, gyms, and small retailers. Using an app platform to target Pronto riders with offers of free appetizers or complimentary drinks on behalf of uphill businesses, Pronto can incentivize the delivery of bikes to low-inventory stations. Since many members bike down the hill in the morning and bus home in the evening, this strategy could encourage return bike trips, yielding a net flow of bikes up the hills and convincing riders to deliver a bike to a station that he or she normally wouldn’t. Pronto could could subsidize the restaurant coupons with the marginal cost of bike transport, limiting members to only one coupon per participating business. The partner businesses would receive a more-targeted marketing strategy that is guaranteed to reach a desirable audience while experiencing positive co-branding.
Bailey Harper and Chris "Feckless" Jambor
Team at BMKT 491