The University of Washington in Seattle plans to offer automated rental of electric bicycles on campus. Anyone with a campus ID card can swipe the card at one of several bike rental kiosks to be located on campus. UW transportation officials hope to encourage more use of public transportation to the campus by offering this "last mile" service for intracampus travel once the student or employee gets to campus from a bus depot.
Other American universities such as Northern Arizona and the University of Buffalo have bike share programs, but Washington's proposed plan is believed to the first to offer the use of electric bike hybrids. I realize many people object to the use of electric motors on bicycles, but urban revitalization consultant Rich Layman makes the case for "conquest sales" -- that is, of moving people along a continuum to better transportation choices. A bicycle is certainly better in a lot of ways than almost any other vehicle, but an electric bike or even a Segway is better from a sustainability standpoint than any gasoline-powered automobile.