Japan’s Amazing Automated Earthquake-Proof Underground Bike Parking Facility

Japan is a tiny island nation with a massive population that can ill afford locked bikes crowding packed city streets and sidewalks. So the country began to dig down as ridership went up. This 23 diameter storage container stores up to 204 bikes nearly 40 feet underground.

Membership costs 2,600 yen (~$30) a month and students pay half price. Load your bike in the tray, swipe your RFID card, and your bike is lowered into the depths. Retrieval takes roughly 17 seconds.

The entire system is prefabricated and capable of withstanding the tremors which frequently hit the country.

All I know is that I need a mini version for my garage!

Via Giken



Spiral - 12/04/12 - 5:56pm

Ar the doors supposed to slam shut on the wheels?
See last frames of video…

johnny - 12/04/12 - 6:35pm

@spiral, yes they are. look at the sequence around 0:30. The doors hold the bike upright until you take it away.

Chuck - 12/04/12 - 9:36pm

I work for a Japanese company so I’m used to it, but why does the voice over in this video have to be in Jinglish?

Topmounter - 12/04/12 - 9:36pm

I wonder what happens if you stick a tandem in there.

Moonlightbike - 12/04/12 - 11:18pm

-Yes, the door mechanism catches the front wheel and holds the bike in place, (not slams, it’s fast sensor technology and will have passed abrasion testing), it stabilizes the bike for the grabber mechanism. It’s efficient.

-The ‘jinglish’ you refer to is probably because the japanese to english translators are subcontracted to a run of the mill company that complies with a certain (sometimes annoying) tone and accent common denominator. Overall, translating on the spot is difficult. No point in complaining. But I have to say the narrator had great pronunciation of Japanese words.

-There would most likely be a sensor that detected if the bike did not conform to pre-set size restrictions. Japanese design would easily incorporate such a thing. A tandem bike would not get grabbed. If you ride a tandem bike in a metropolis, I think you will have other issues going on.

This design is great. Good example of how new technology from disparate industries can be applied to create/evolve any stubborn problems. And bike problems are always worth fixing. Long live a moon light bike.

Xris - 12/04/12 - 11:37pm

I would imagine if you stick a tandem in, it will
#1, Not be accepted
#2, Violently reject the silly tandem
#3, Lock the passcard you have chosen so the users stupidity does not
affect future users.

mongo - 12/04/12 - 11:41pm

@chuck…probably because it’s broadcast by NHK, a Japanese public broadcasting company. You don’t sound “used to it”. You sound like a typical closeted bigot that is annoyed by anyone that doesn’t talk like you.

Chipolini - 12/05/12 - 12:10am

Nice! It wouldn’t work in the US, we’d try the above mentioned tandem test, and a plethora of other stupid things. (staying on the bike in an aero position and going down with it) It would be broken in no time, or lawsuits about damaged bikes, people trying to get their bike by prying open the doors and falling to their doom at the bottom of the pit… I also like that Mr. Toshio Ikeda the developer has Gundam posters on his walls – I like to see imaginative people at work.

Cory - 12/05/12 - 12:34am

The lengths we go to, to keep our bikes safe. Sad, really, that we need to keep them in underground vaults, just to keep thieves away.

ascar larkinyar - 12/05/12 - 1:01am

england really needs this

Jordan - 12/05/12 - 10:27am

I looks awesome… but i can’t help but think some moron would run through the doors when they opened to try and steal a bike.

Steve - 12/05/12 - 2:50pm

@Cory – It’s more about usable space than security.

Editz - 12/05/12 - 5:36pm

I can imagine this in someplace in like NYC and being filled with trash and urine in about a week.

Surly Shawn - 12/06/12 - 2:54pm

This is fantastic! I think it is awesome. However, to play devil’s advocate, my only concern would be maintenance. What happens if it breaks down and your bike is trapped in there? Then you would have to wait for a bit. Even if a beater bike was in there, it would still make me a little irritated and worried. Other than that though, I think this is super cool!

As far as this going over in the U.S., I highly doubt it. We don’t embrace the space saving techniques that Asia and Europe utilize. We love our fat, waddling, taking-up-the-whole-aisle, asses. And I doubt we have anyone here qualified to work on that, should a repair issue arise.

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