Bicycle Storage Park Design Project Construction Essay

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This section identifies the client's needs and lists the various functions, objectives and constraints for the design project. The various stakeholders and service environments for the design are also discussed in detail.

1.1 Problem Statement

The City of Toronto has used the post and ring bicycles stands since 1984 and through its use; some problems have arisen prompting the city to look for new designs.[1] The city wishes to replace the current 16,000 bike stands found in Toronto with a new design in an effort to increase the percentage of commuting done by bicycles (and other two-wheeled vehicles). The benefits include a more environmentally friendly option of transportation as more people will choose biking over commuting by cars (or other motorized vehicles). The obstacles to the current design include a limited number of parking per stand (two is the maximum), and some serious security concerns as it has been shown that the stand can be broken rather simply with the use of a lever.[2]

With a goal to double the number of bicycle trips made in the city by 2011, a recommended area of focus is the accessibility to secure and convenient bicycle parking at all cycling locations.[3] Not only will this encourage present cyclists to continue biking, it is intended to attract other commuters to travel in a more environmentally-conscious and economical way.

The new design must accommodate standard adult bicycles and in the process, maximize the numbers that can be stored in a limited space as obstructing pedestrian or other traffic is not preferred. All aspects of this design should be carefully planned to minimize the environmental impact of the project throughout its lifespan. It must be secure, convenient, and simple to use as this expands the potential target group while also appealing to the current demographic. Also, the city requires a unique solution specifically designed for it as it will become a symbol of Toronto and an iconic figure in its history. Most importantly, the proposed solution must be inexpensive to implement as the budget will be a serious factor in determining the feasibility of the project.

1.2 Identification of Stakeholders

There are six main stakeholders in this design project and their involvement differs with respect to their interests and concerns. Each stakeholder brings their own perspective and these factors play an important role throughout the design project.

Client: requires a feasible, secure parking facility that meets the budget constraints and will allow parking for a growing cyclist population in the future.

Users: concerned with the security of their two-wheeled vehicles while parked. Aesthetics and ease of use are also important considerations

Environmental Groups: interested in the initiative to increase biking as a means of transportation. Production, implementation, and disposal of the parking facility are concerns as this may have detrimental effects on the environment.

Motorists: Concerned with their safety and accessibility to various parts of the City after new parking facility is implemented. May consider switching to biking if design is appealing

Pedestrians: Concerned with safety and accessibility of sidewalks/walkways after new design is implemented. Walking space and convenience is an issue.

Businesses: Local businesses concerned with effects (aesthetics, size, image) of new facility in proximity to their location. Some businesses may need more bicycle parking facilities. Others may not want it (car parking businesses may see drop in profits if more people choose to bike as opposed to driving).

1.3 Functions

The functions (what the design should do) consist of three main sections: primary, secondary, and unintended functions. This section explores the intended use of the design while also mentioning potential unintended uses that may arise.

Primary Function(s):

Locking/securing of two-wheeled vehicles

Secondary Function(s):

Storage/parking of two-wheeled vehicles

Unintended Function(s):

Securing/fastening other objects to the stand (newspaper stands, post boxes, pets, etc.)

Posting/displaying of other information (advertisements, banners, signs, etc)

1.4 Objectives

The objectives are criteria that the client has requested to be considered in the design project to improve the functionality and make it more appealing. Objectives can also have associated goals so as to test the level of success that is achieved in the proposed design. The new design should be:

Able to handle different types (segways, electric scooters, etc.) and sizes (adult, child) of two-wheeled vehicles.

Goal: handles all types of bicycle sizes while also accommodating less typical vehicles (segways and scooters)

Inexpensive to implement and maintain (either through low cost design or revenue generation) Goal: Per unit cost is 50% of that set out in the budget

Environmentally friendly (reduce environmental impact throughout design process)

Goal: Recyclable materials should amount to at least 20% of material in new design

Sturdy (will not get damaged easily)

Goal: Be at least as durable as the current design

Able to handle multiple two-wheeled vehicles

Goal: Be able to handle at least three vehicles per unit

Able to minimize pedestrian impact on sidewalks/walkways

Goal: Size of stand should be at most double the size of current stand

Simple to use

Goal: A user of the current design should not need to learn how to use the new design (i.e. should not need to be taught or instructed)

1.5 Constraints

Constraints are strict requirements in the design project. These criteria must be met in order for the design to be acceptable. The new design must:

Accommodate adult bicycles and park at least two vehicles per stand. [3]

Be designed, produced and implemented under the amount $69.34 million (total funding). [4]

Not produce more than 5000 pounds of any chemical or "zero" amounts of harmful chemicals, such as DDT, PCB and mercury. [5]

Be unique to the City of Toronto (use of designs from other cities is unacceptable) [3]

1.6 Service Environment

The design will function in a way where numerous external and internal factors will contribute to its operation. This section describes the physical, virtual, and human service environment of the design's operation.

1.6.1 Physical

The new design will most likely be fixed in an outdoor environment and therefore must be resistant to the numerous external factors in the City of Toronto. The new design must operate in a variety of different weather conditions with average highs of 26.8°C in July (warmest month) and average lows of 2.1°C in January (coldest month). [6] Due to the city s proximity to Lake Ontario, it receives a large amount of precipitation (annual averages of: 115.4 cm of snowfall, 792.7mm total precipitation) with 145.5 wet days. [6] There can also be times of extreme wind conditions and high levels of humidity in the summers. (See Appendix A) The design will be used in an area with a large amount of smog, coming from the industrial regions. Smog can cause chemical reactions that can deteriorate certain materials rapidly. (See Appendix A)

1.6.2 Virtual

While most designs will be mechanical in nature, there are a few possible solutions that may have electrical and digital components. Such designs may require some form of payment or identification to operate and this raises a range of virtual elements that need to be considered. Designs with these criteria will rely on some form of energy (electricity) to function and thus the design will operate in an environment where a constant power source cannot always be guaranteed. The non-mechanical factors mean the design will also operate with numerous electrical components (card readers, antennae, user-interface panels, etc.). This introduces electrical and fire hazards and thus the design will also be used in situations where the electrical components may cause malfunctions (short circuits, electrical fire, power failure, etc.) Finally, there will be some software implementation with any digital system and thus program bugs, faulty code, malicious data, and information loss are all potential situations that may arise.

1.6.3 Human

Ultimately, the parking facility will be used by the general public and will ideally cater to as large a demographic as possible. [3] This includes adults, teenagers, and children of different ages and sizes. While it is reasonable to assume that young children will be accompanied with adults who can assist them in the parking of their bicycles, it can't be assumed that the general public would like to learn how to use a parking system. They would most likely want a quick and easy way to lock their bicycles. [5]

The sidewalk is also shared with non-users; i.e. pedestrians and other traffic. [5] Citizens walking on the sidewalk would not like being disturbed or obstructed by the new design; and emergency vehicles must have easy access/manoeuvrability at all locations. The design will be operated in an area that may have thieves or other individuals with malicious intents (vandalism, theft of vehicle, etc.). Thus the implementation of the design in this environment must be carefully done, as attacks with the use of a lever and with an applied force have been shown to compromise the current design. [2]

2.0 Alternatives

In this section, the five potential solutions are discussed in detail. Their advantages and disadvantages are weighed, and the design's ability to meet the goals of the objectives and constraints are mentioned as well. Also, the methods used to generate ideas, and reach decisions have been identified in this section.

2.1 Idea Generation

This section describes the idea generation process used to create our ideas. These ideas were, in-turn, used to generate the design alternatives.

After a thorough revision of the problem definition, the team developed a large list of ideas. These ideas were one or two word phrases that we believed had something to do with bicycle parking. Originality was a key factor in this process and the team was encouraged to think of iconic symbols and distinguishing elements in the city during this idea generation. At a later meeting, we further discussed these ideas and through a structured brainstorming session, came up with several ideas that were much more focused. The goal of this approach was to create a broad list of loosely-related 'phrases' and to then refine them to be more specific and closely related to bicycle parking. Again, throughout this process originality was encouraged and team members were also told to keep the basic constraints in mind. This way, some ideas would be a little exaggerated, but in general, not too far-fetched. See Appendix C (Table 2).

After coming up with the ideas, the team voted on them and ten ideas were chosen. These ideas best represented the basic requirements during the 'phrase' generation stage and left a broad design space to allow for a wide range of potential designs. The ten ideas were looked at closely when thinking of the designs, however all of the ideas contributed to the generation of the designs. See Appendix C for the list of ten ideas (Table 3).

2.2 Design Selection

This section describes how the ten ideas were used to generate several designs, and then gradually narrow the designs to the five alternatives. There is a brief explanation of the advantages and disadvantages of each of the five designs. (See Appendix B for drawings of alternatives)

After the ten ideas were voted upon, the design generation aspect began. Each team member was tasked with creating several designs and choosing their best ones. During a meeting, the designs were discussed and ones that were too similar or not original were eliminated. After this process, nine potential designs were left (see below).

Table 4: The Nine Potential Designs (top five italicized)



Number on Graphs




Maple Leaf Flag Storage



M-Loop System



In-Ground Magnet



Underground Storage



Double Thick Ring



Wall-mount System



Guarded Maple Leaf



Card-Operated Stand



Through the use of a graphical decision matrix, the designs were compared with the objectives and five alternative designs were generated. If a design was in the top right quadrant of the graphical decision matrix, it was awarded one point (see Appendix C Figure 8). Through further discussion and careful assessment of which designs best met the needs of the client, five designs were chosen. The alternative designs were the Maple Leaf Flag Storage unit, outdoor bike pods, In-Ground Magnet Lock, an underground storage facility, and the M-Loop System. (See Appendix B for drawings)

1. Maple Leaf Flag Storage

As the name suggests, the design will feature engravings of the maple leaf on its support bars. It will park bicycles vertically and allow a chain to be attached to the frame of the bicycle. It can be mounted on a wall or placed back to back to avoid the uneven force placement. During steel production, lots of energy is used, however, the design will not cause much environmental damage during the rest of the lifespan. [8] Stainless steel is very sturdy and resistant to most corrosion while also being recyclable. [8] (See appendix D) Its small structure will make it easy to use. It will not obstruct any pedestrians because of its size, (it would lie on a wall instead of on the sidewalk), and a cluster of the design would be able to hold lots of bicycles in a small area. However, it will not be able to handle other two-wheeled vehicles as other vehicles may be too heavy or may not fit into the small locking space.

2. Bike Pod

Bike pods contain lockers, which will be housed in a shelter, similar to that of a bus stand. The pods can be placed so it is easily accessible from any point of interest (e.g. in car parking lots) or in large intersections with abundant space. These pods can accommodate all types of vehicles and sizes. Lockers will be made of stainless steel and pods would be a combination of plastic and glass. These materials would be harmful for the environment during the process of manufacturing and although stainless steel can be recycled (Refer to Appendix D), plastic cannot. The plastic and glass can endure harsh weather, but they are not scratch resistant. The stainless steel lockers will be hard to damage, which is beneficial in terms of security. The design can implement a reward system (pay to use), but this would then require restructuring of infrastructure around the city, since it is not a traditional stand. It will be very simple to use, since the pods will be labelled carefully and the mechanism of opening the lockers will be the same as opening general lockers.

3. In-ground Magnet

Through the use of electromagnets, a standard alloy bike could be placed alongside the system, and secured with a magnetic force. The design is an 'in-ground' design, meaning the system would be fixed underground resulting in a very sturdy foundation. Magnets would be installed on right and left hand sides and these magnets with in-ground mounting make the design remarkably strong. This solution, however, provides the same number of parking spaces as the current design and the magnetic field may interfere with electronic devices, and other metallic objects. Also, significant costs would likely arise due to the expensive nature of the implementation. Charging 50c per hour for the use of the electromagnet could offset the cost of making the station, but high maintenance costs and potential malfunctions are very probable and this significantly reduces the feasibility of this solution.

4. Underground Storage

Areas which require high-density bicycle storage, such as universities, may benefit from an underground bicycle storage area. Bicycles would be taken to a paid employee (security officer) and the bicycle would be stored for a given period of time. Compartments may be used within the storage area and a key would be provided to the user upon payment for the parking space. The high cost will be partly offset by the payment process and this payment system would work by placing the required amount of money into the feeder (which would then release a key for the user). The building will most likely be made out of concrete, which can withstand humidity and high wind speed conditions. Concrete can also withstand water damage if it is completely sealed, with no cracks. [10] The environmental impact is to be debated as the large amounts of concrete required pose a concern. Also, the costs and feasibility of implementing an underground storage system are questionable given the existing infrastructure in Toronto. The large area can fit bicycles horizontally as well as vertically and as the system is underground, pedestrian obstruction will be completely minimized.

5. The M-Loop system

The M-Loop system is a simple bicycle stand designed to maximize durability and sturdiness while maintain ease of use. It is a simple one-loop structure that is fixed in-ground and this design leads to its high sturdiness. The system is able to accommodate a large range of two-wheeled vehicles, and has a maximum capacity of three bicycles per unit. The simplicity of the design also allows users to use their past experience in securing their bikes (to the ring-and-post stand) to use this system. The shape (M-Loop) and material (stainless steel) enable it to endure harsh weather conditions, and/or malicious attacks allowing for higher security. [8] It is environmentally friendly in all stages of its life (manufacturing, installation, and disposal) as it is almost completely recyclable. [8] Its size is larger than that of the current system, however, and pedestrian space will be affected depending on the location it is installed in. Also, costs are variable as stainless steel is somewhat expensive when compared with cast aluminum. [9]

3.0 Proposed Conceptual Design

After considerable discussion and analysis, our team chose the M-loop system as the proposed design to replace the current bike stands. Not only did this design meet all constraints, it best met all objectives and was closest to accomplishing the original goals set out by the design team.

The team came to this decision through the use of the weighted decision matrix. A pair-wise comparison chart was created to rank all of the objectives in order of importance. Next, the team gave a percentage to the importance of each objective. The team then compared each design with their success to the objectives, and assigned a percentage to that success. Finally the team multiplied the importance percents and objective success percents and added them up for each design. In the end, the M-Loop System had the highest percentage: 66.5%. Through discussion, the team decided that it meets the objectives to a reasonable degree, and improves upon the old design. (See Appendix C, tables 5-9 for charts mentioned above)

3.1 Proposed Design

The M-loop System has several features that make it stand out when compared to the other designs. Primarily, it is cheap and easy to produce, and does not take up a great amount of space. Also as previously mentioned, this design best met all objectives originally set out after consultation with the client. The following list shows the objectives listed in the problem definition and describes to what extent the M-loop System meets them:

The M-loop System can accommodate various types of two-wheeled vehicles because of its shape. It was not designed to only secure an adult bicycle and this flexibility has allowed it to potentially handle other two-wheeled vehicles (scooters, segways, etc.).

The design is inexpensive to build because of several factors. First, the design is made out of stainless steel; a reusable material fabricated in large quantities. [8] The current design is in part steel, and using reusing the materials can help in the decommissioning process of the current stands. It can also lower the costs of the M-loop System as the steel extracted from the current design, would be used to fabricate the M-loop System.

Through the recycling of steel to fabricate and decommission the design, the design's life cycle will minimize environmental impacts. There will be minimal waste during the melting process of the steel, and the only impact would be drainage of energy used to melt the steel. The finishing coats would also be a factor, but the process as a whole is much more environmentally friendly than those that would be required to fabricate the other designs.

As stated in the alternatives design section, stainless steel is very sturdy. It can withstand heavy damage and chemical attacks, both naturally and from organisms. [8] The M-loop's spiral is designed to withstand physical attacks as it spreads the force over one structure that is directly mounted in the ground. This provides a key advantage over the current design, as the lever attack flaws resulted at the point where the post and ring were bolted together.

The current design can park a maximum of two bicycles, while the M-loop System can park three bicycles. This means that the amount of bicycles stored will be increased by 50%. Currently there are 16,000 stands that must be replaced (storage capacity of 32,000 cycles). With the new design, 16,000 stands would provide a maximum storage capacity of 48,000 vehicles.

Although the M-Loop system will take up more space than the current design, its capacity to hold more cycles balances out the extra space it requires. More bicycles per unit results in fewer stands needed closer together, so the space loss is countered by the gain of additional parking space per unit.

The main goal for convenience and simplicity was that the user should not need to 'learn' how to operate the bike stand. As the M-loop system is simply one unit that bears some resemblance to the current design, securing the vehicles is intuitively obvious. Simply arrange the bicycle on either side of the stand (or in the middle) and then secure it with a lock or chain (methods that are already used with the current design).

The proposed design obviously meets the constraints set out by the client as well. It is able to accommodate at least two adult bicycles and its implementation results in a very environmentally friendly parking facility while falling within the assigned budget. Lastly, it bears the maple leaf logo, an iconic symbol in Toronto. The words 'City of Toronto' also add to the uniqueness and authenticity required by the client.

4.0 Metrics

Metrics are tests the team will perform to assess the success of the proposed design with the most important objectives. The results of these tests provide valuable information about the implementation of the design and will allow for any revisions to occur before the solution is implemented on a large scale.

The most important objective for the bicycle stand design is its sturdiness. The sturdiness of the design will be assessed by numerous 'stress tests'. These tests include subjecting the design to physical attacks with tools (hammers, levers, axes, cutters, etc.) and would be measured either by physical damage incurred per attack, or by assessing the stability of the design after a repeated set of physical tests. The goal of this test would be to identify the value of stress (force measured in Newtons) required to cause an unacceptable amount of damage that would make the design insecure.

Other stress tests include the exposure of the stand to various natural elements such as sub-zero temperatures, repeated water/snow conditions, extreme heat, acid rain, etc. Again, the goal of these tests is to identify the range of conditions (temperatures, acidity, etc.) that would cause an unacceptable level of compromise in the design.

Another key objective in the design is to maximize the number of bicycles that can be parked. This is tested by a comparison with the maximum bikes one can lock into the current ring-and-post design, and the number of bicycles that the new design can lock. The old design is able to store a maximum of two bikes, whereas the new design can handle up to 3. On a larger level, there are 16,000 post-and-ring stands in the city of Toronto. As mentioned the old and the new designs can handle 2 and 3 bikes per stand, respectively; 3 divided by 2 results in a ratio of 1.5:1, which means the new system can handle 50% more vehicles than the old one.

5.0 Conclusion

After extensive research and discussion, our ESP design team proposes the M-Loop parking stand as the solution that best satisfies the criteria set out by the client.

This system will be able to hold 50% more bicycles than the old ring-and-post design. Its stainless steel structure and simple design will be resistant to both natural and forced attacks, and the pedestrian impact will be kept to a minimum. Finally, the design will be implemented so that the impact on the environment is significantly reduced while also maintaining the budget requirements.

This team conceptual design specification report marks the end of our group project at the University of Toronto Engineering Strategies and Practice. In the next stage of this project, group members will revise this report and submit individual conceptual design specification documents by Monday December 12, 2009. This revised report will contain additional information on the ethical considerations, as well as more detailed sections on sustainability and the environment.