University of Minnesota ZAP Bike Commuting Program

Who We Are

We are Parking and Transportation Services and our mission is to facilitate safe and convenient access to the University while promoting alternative modes of transportation. The ZAP Twin Cities (ZAP TC) program is a consortium between Minneapolis, St. Paul and the University of Minnesota with the goal of increasing bike commuting metro-wide.

What is ZAP?

The ZAP Twin Cities bike commuter program uses ZAP hardware and software - an automated bike commuting recognition system pioneered right here at the University of Minnesota. It is an effortless way of verifying and logging bike trips, then rewarding and incentivizing bicycle commuters with prizes and Wellness rewards.

How Does the System Work?

A small tag attached to two front wheel spokes is recognized by strategically placed ZAP readers installed in rings around downtown Minneapolis (coming June 2012), downtown Saint Paul (coming June 2012) and the University of Minnesota (installed and operational). In this way, we capture nearly any bike trip in and out of these areas. Riders passing within 30 feet of the reader will hear a beep, indicating they have been "Zapped." Trip data is uploaded to the web, making it accessible to the cyclist and the administrators of the program.

To get Zapped (your ride logged), look where the antenna is pointing to identify the "sweet spot" of the ZAP zone. This is typically 5'-15' out from the reader on the street side of the reader, NOT on the sidewalk side of the reader. If you are riding right beneath the reader, chances are you will NOT be Zapped. The readers are also not designed to read across an entire street, but you may occasionally get Zapped on the opposite side of the street. Please consider those occasions a bonus, not a feature, as the readers cannot be adjusted to reliably cover an entire street. When you've been Zapped the machine will "beep" and a green light will flash. You need only one Zap per day to get roundtrip ride credit.

how it works

Why Bicycles?

Studies have shown that bicyclists are healthier and more productive employees, and cycling is less costly to the cyclist, his/her employer and the city.

Over the past 15 years the University, along with the cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul have spent millins of dollars on bicycle infrastructure, giving us some of the nation's best and safest bicycle networks. Currently about 10% of people bike to campus. We believe that number could be substantially increased because 40% of commuters are within 5 miles of campus - well within the sweet spot for bicycle use.

The time is right to shift bike transportation into high gear and begin to reward bike commuters. The ZAP program makes this possible.

What Do I Need to Do?

  1. Get your bike(s) tagged at the new University Bike Center (see location) or watch for our mobile "ZAP Zone" tent to pop up around campus this spring. A tag will be attached to the front wheel of your bike and you will be given a web address to register yourself.
  2. Bike to campus past at least one ZAP reader. There will be approximately 20 readers on campus (see map) , so you shouldn't have to go out of your way.
  3. Students can win cool stuff and employees can earn Wellness rewards. You can also form teams for competition and track your miles, CO2 saved and calories burned on your personal ZAP web page.

Cool Bike Stuff and Engaging Program

Every month the University will be rewarding bike commuters who commute at least 8 times that month with cool stuff. Furthermore, cyclists will be eligible for prize drawings and challenges through the region-wide ZAP Twin Cities program.

Cash! The Wellness Program and Parking Services are teaming up to offer any UPlan medical program member an incentive to bike to work. After 40 completed rides, before the August 31, 2012 deadline, bicycle commuters may earn 50 points for his or her Wellness Points Bank and a $65 wellness reward. 40 rides must be completed by August 31, 2012. On Sept. 1, the ride count starts from 0 again for the 2013 program year. More Details...


For more information give us a call at 612-625-1333.

Bike Commuting Counts!