Image Credit: ViralPortal

Between its 13 million residents and congested construction, Toyko is a very crowded place—and when you consider that roughly 3.5 million commuters use a bicycle in conjunction with trains to get to work, space for parking is at a premium.

Giken Ltd. believes it has the answer. The company has designed and implemented the Eco Cycle, an automated underground parking garage that keeps bikes from clogging walkways and streets.  

A sensor in the wheel alerts the system to an incoming payload. Riders pay roughly $21 a month for parking privileges, which isn’t a bad deal considering the Eco Cycle insulates the bikes from bad weather, is virtually theft-proof, and is believed to be immune to earthquakes. Retrieving the bike takes roughly 10 seconds. According to blogger and television host Danny Choo, the silos can hold around 200 bikes; users are advised to remove their pets before loading.

SkyNet—sorry, Giken—has won design awards for the innovation, which they first developed back in 1994.

[h/t: Digg]