Read the Article, taken from Planning Commissions Journal:
Given the high population density in Japan's metropolitan area, it shouldn't come as a surprise that a Japanese firm has come up with an automated bicycle storage facility. Take a look at this short video from The Guardian newspaper's website.
As Guardian editor David Munk describes it: "Has Japan designed the world's best bike shed? It's not often something stops you in your bike tracks. But a spectacular "bike tree" invention from Japan bowled me over when I was in Tokyo a couple of weeks ago.
Fed up with bicycles locked to railings, piled on top of each other, blocking doorways and roads, a local council in the city installed the mechanical masterpiece. It's basically an automatic storage system for cycles and operates with computer tagging of bikes and either storage in a building or a basement structure.
There are a number of locations where these bike trees are now in place in Tokyo some hold 600-odd bikes, others more than 6,000. The concept came from the massive Japanese steel company JFE, whose engineering works division first started them in 2007 but are now spreading.
... The process of retrieval normally takes 15 seconds but can be slightly longer (it took 30 seconds in my experience). The advantages are plain your bike becomes theft-proof, you are encouraged to cycle to work and local authorities don't have to deal with unsightly and sometimes annoying bicycle clutter. The downside is that it costs a lot of money and the infrastructure involves serious resources."
Watch the Video: