For many reasons, micromobility’s popularity is taking off. Using e-bikes and scooters makes sense for the environment. They help people find another way to commute rather than a car or a train. And micromobility was in the right place at the right time during the pandemic.
But with all its success, the transportation movement still has several things that must happen for it to become a mainstay in the United States and elsewhere.
Here are some legislative and non-governmental items cities, micromobility advocates and manufacturers need to work on in 2021 and beyond to grow.
Micromobility needs better infrastructure to protect riders and pedestrians.
If you drive in the United States, there’s bound to be parking available in or near the city center. That’s not the case for micromobility vehicles.
Bikes have bike lanes. Cars have roads and parking. However, micromobility vehicles use streets and sidewalks to get around. As more e-bikes, mopeds, scooters and other vehicles get used, space will become more scarce if forced to share with pedestrians and cars.
Micromobility deserves serious consideration for its own infrastructure to help handle the demand that’s predicted for usage in the future. That would include better parking, secure parking facilities and sidewalk/roadway adjustments.
Micromobility needs to better leverage geofencing and pedestrian detection systems. Following local regulations when using micromobility is a must. But with more demand can come more problems with compliance. Geofencing could be the answer.
E-scooter manufacturer Bird, which first introduced geofencing in 2017, said GPS accuracy will improve along with less of a wait for vehicles because of geofencing improvements. Geozones that mandate reduced speeds or do not allow riding can be set up by municipalities on a “block-by-block” basis. Bird said the improvements will also help with sidewalk riding issues and parking problems.
Pedestrian detection systems are also available for manufacturers to include on e-scooters. They are the same type of detection systems used in vehicles, according to the Washington Post. Cities can access a real-time camera feed to keep tabs on riders, with pedestrians knowing there is an additional feature to help them feel safe. It’s also a safety feature because if a rider crashes, the response time can decrease.
Transportation experts think micromobility will continue to grow in popularity in 2021. If your business is reopening an office soon or you have had employees commuting to work, micromobility vehicles are a great way to help them commute while feeling safe.
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