Managing Micromobility – How Custom Solutions Give Cities Greater Control Over Emerging Technologies
According to a report by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), there are more than 85,000 app-based scooters available for rent in 100 cities nationwide. This is part of a larger trend of venture capital and ride-share company investment in micromobility – a category of transportation comprised of very light vehicles like electric scooters and bikes.
Since 2017 e-scooters in particular have been taking American cities by storm. They are praised by transportation advocates and environmentalists. The claim is that e- scooters and other micromobility options have the potential to ease the first mile/last mile transportation problem, reduce reliance on private cars, and make the most of existing space by ‘right-sizing’ the vehicle, all while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
For Cities, Micromobility has been Nothing Short of a Scourge.
Cities were wholly unprepared for the influx of thousands of e-scooters on their streets and sidewalks. Safety concerns, street clutter caused by dockless systems that allow users to leave e-scooters anywhere when they’re done using them, and few regulations have led to “scooter rage”. Today, some cities are taking action – limiting the number of scooters and cracking down on where they can be ridden or parked.
Another key “action item” for cities when it comes to micromobility is adopting the Mobility Data Specification (MDS). MDS was developed by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation and helps cities manage all the scooters and bike-share companies hitting their streets. Most importantly, it leverages data from scooters and bikes to inform transportation policy – like where to place bike lanes, or where to encourage scooter drop-offs – and alert cities to which company’s customers aren’t following the rules of the road.
Moving Towards Solutions for New Problems
As more and more “smart” technologies and devices filter into our cities, city planners and officials need tools to manage them. MDS is just one example. Another is the work we have done with our partner, Visionaire Lighting. Together we developed Pangea, a platform designed to help cities more easily manage smart streetlight controls and data. Providing the LED lighting fixtures and IoT-connectivity wasn’t enough. Just as with micromobility, cities needed tools to help them manage/monitor the new technology, put controls in place and maximize the data this “smart” city tool could deliver.
“As stewards of the public realm, it is vital that cities retain authority over their streets,” said Alex Engel, a communications spokesman for NACTO. “When cities, system operators and communities plan together, cities can ensure the best outcomes for their residents: providing truly reliable, affordable and easy-to-access transportation, expanding access to opportunity.”– GovTech.com
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more of our work with Visionaire.
Let’s build something beautiful together.
CEO at Dev IQ, triathlete, and technological philosopher.