With its residents battling high fuel prices and heavy traffic, Washington, DC, has instituted a bike-sharing program: pay $40 a year, and you can borrow wheels from one of 10 stands across the city. Inspired by similar schemes abroad, SmartBike DC is using technology keep the system running smoothly, keeping the bikes in electronic racks that require swiping a smartcard for access, the LA Times reports.
“People are familiar with car-sharing--Zipcar and Flexcar. Now, we have bike-sharing,” said the mayor. ClearChannel Outdoor is running the program in exchange for ad space in local bus shelters. “If we are only half as successful as the European model”--Paris’s program boasts 200,000 subscribers--“it will be a huge success,” says a transportation official.