see here for an article on bike locking: http://sheldonbrown.com/lock-strategy.html
As I use that method; my prefferred bike rack is the inverted-U.
Sine wave mulitpleUs are not prefferred as multiple separate inverted-Us, for lack of stability; plus they are crowded and I dont like having to lift my bike into the rack.
Sheffield is a second choice, but still has some crowding.
Triton (google it) i cannot stand; as my bike doesnt actually fit inside the rack
Grid/Fence/Wheelbender styles are avoided at all cost, as they do not allow the bike to be locked properly
other esoteric designs also need not apply -ie wierd racks that have intergrated locks or strange clamshell crossbars you pass through your bike
Also of note; a parking meter makes a fine bike rack when the invertedU cannot be found.
the Inverted-U is the perfect bike rack, i doubt it can be made better. The only thing I'd change is we need more of them
Perhaps if your project focused less on the functional aspect of the rack and more on the marketing appeal of it so cities/shops will be more inclined to provide more of them? I say paint them dayglow pink, everyone loves pink.