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Dockless Bike Share Pilot


Background on ofo bikes

Connection to FutureVU

As part of its mobility and transportation strategy being developed through FutureVU, Vanderbilt received mobility-related recommendations from members of the Vanderbilt community including students, faculty, staff and trustees, as well as from the surrounding community. The expansion of bike share programs on campus was a recurring recommendation. Therefore, the university is pursuing a short-term, experimental bike share pilot as a part of its mobility strategy.

Experimental Pilot

Vanderbilt is moving forward with a dockless bike share pilot, which will need minimal infrastructure and will support cross-campus travel . This six month pilot has been established with the dockless bike share company, ofo, and will begin March 27, 2018 with 100 bikes on campus. The goals of this pilot are to determine campus interest in the dockless bike share program, study how dockless bike share would work on campus at a small scale so the university can consider expanding in the future, and obtain data on how the campus community uses bikes on campus, in particular routes used, to further efforts in defining bike routes on campus in the future. The university will reassess continuation of the pilot as metro Nashville develops its own policy on dockless bike share for the city of Nashville.

Student Driven

Yalun Feng, undergraduate student at Vanderbilt, in conjunction with the student organization Vanderbilt Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Society (VINES), brought forward the idea of collaboration with ofo to the Vice Chancellor for Administration and FutureVU team. With the support of the Vanderbilt Student Government, administration decided to pursue a short-term pilot with the company to test out dockless bike share on campus.


How the pilot will work

The university and ofo have set up a geofence boundary for the pilot, which outlines the area where users will be able to park their bikes. Users can take trips outside of the geofence boundary; however, bikes are supposed to be brought back into the geofence boundary to be parked. Bikes left stationary outside of the geofence boundary for more than two hours will be brought back into the geofence area, and users will receive a lower ofo score in the ofo app. The university has also identified preferred parking areas around campus where users will be encouraged to park ofo bikes. The preferred parking areas will be located in convenient locations and either be existing bike racks or noted with green paint and a bicycle symbol.

Please note: While preferred parking spots are noted on the map, users are welcome to use any university bike rack within the ofo boundary to park their bikes if a preferred spot is not convenient to their location.  We just ask that you use a university bike rack and park responsibly.

An in-app ofo score will encourage users to park bikes responsibly and within the geofence. A map outlining the geofence boundary and preferred parking areas can be found here:

Parking area map for shared urban mobility devices


In order to ensure safety, accessibility and orderliness, ofo will have a patrol team that monitors the bikes, provides maintenance and repairs, and moves bikes left outside the geofence area or that block pathways. Vanderbilt’s Public Safety and Facilities teams will also assist with moving bikes as needed, especially if they are causing accessibility and safety issues on campus.

How to use ofo bikes

  • Download ofo app on your smart phone*
  • Locate an available bike
  • Scan QR code to unlock bike
  • Take your ride**
  • Park bike and lock it using the lever on the back of the bike
  • Complete your trip in the app

*To access an ofo bike without using a smart phone, call ofo’s customer service line (844-289-9747) with any phone to request a code for a bike. You will need to tell the ofo representative the bike number (located on the bike) and they will share a four digit code that you can manually enter into the keypad on the ofo bike to unlock it.

**Users with an email address will receive preferred pricing during the pilot at $0.50/hour.



Vanderbilt has formed a small group of student and staff stakeholders who will help with communications related to the pilot within the campus community and provide guidance on how to use the service. To give feedback to this group on the pilot, your experience with ofo bikes, questions and concerns, please contact

For issues relating specifically to the bikes (maintenance, reporting issues such as illegal parking, no bicycle availability, etc.), you may contact ofo customer service 24/7 at 615-863-3094 or Some issues may be reported to ofo using the app.



Mar 22, 2018: Vanderbilt and ofo partner to bring dockless bike sharing to campus

Apr 25, 2018: Dockless bike-sharing pilot continues through summer; preferred pricing available for VU, VUMC