The Future of Urban Transportation: The Bicycle


It’s summertime and we all love to be outside, in the sunshine, riding bikes. Although some form of bicycle transportation has been around since 1418, the most modern version of the two-wheeler dates to the 1890s when mass production of bicycles began. Given the seemingly non-stop advances in technology, what does the future hold for the humble bicycle?

First, it’s not so humble anymore as the bicycle evolves to give us new travel options in an urban environment. Case in point: Ford recently announced a new concept bike named the Ford MoDe:Flex, a folding electric bicycle that is tough enough for trail rides, but light enough for commuting to work. The bike has rear brake lights, turn signals, headlight, and folds so that it can be stored in a car’s trunk.

That’s not all – by using a smartphone app, a function called the “no sweat mode” monitors the rider’s heart-rate and calculates how much effort is needed to pedal so that the rider is not sweaty when arriving at the destination. The app can plan routes, see forecasts, and access fitness information. In addition, when a car approaches behind the bike, the handlebars vibrate to warn the rider. Power is from a lithium ion battery and is controlled by the app.

The future of urban transportation? The bike.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Take a look at a time line of the bicycle history at
  2. Discuss transportation. Poll students as to how they get around campus and town.
  3. How many ride bikes? Why and why not?
  4. Show the Ford MoDe: Flex videos:

  1. Discuss the importance of clearly defining a target market.
  2. For this product, what is the target market?
  3. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.
  4. Based on the target market profile, what makes this product unique for these customers?

Source:   CNET, Manufacturing Business Technology, other news sources

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