Use micromobility for short-distance trips.
Micromobility refers to small and lightweight vehicles. This includes both human- and electric-powered scooters, cycles, skateboards, rickshaws, and cargo bikes. Micromobility has the potential to improve last-mile connectivity to other forms of city transit in areas of low connectivity, while simultaneously addressing congestion, pollution, and emissions, and improving street life and health outcomes.
Use micromobility for short-distance trips. Cycling and other micromobility devices are the cleanest ways to move within a city, and positively impact health, air quality, road safety, and greenhouse gas emissions. If you are currently using a car for short trips, consider switching to micromobility if your city infrastructure and body allows for it. You can even buy a secondhand bike or, if your city has one, use a shared bike system. As an intermediate step, you can also consider an e-scooter, which has a lower vehicle per-mile emission than a car.
Use micromobility safely. Refer to your city guidelines for which paths and roads you can use your micromobility device on. Operate within speed limits and slow down when sharing space with pedestrians. If you are using a shared micromobility vehicle, make sure to return devices to designated drop-off locations and docks to ensure a longer lifespan for the device.
Keep sidewalks and bike lanes clear. If you live or work around sidewalks and bike lanes that are intended for micromobility devices, ensure that there are no roadblocks (e.g., trash bins, personal belongings, etc.) that would prevent access for riders.
Join or form a cycling action network. Action networks are a great way to meet other concerned citizens and promote cycling as a key mode of renewable transport in your city. Take inspiration from New Zealand’s CAN, which has advocated for a better cycling environment by influencing legislation in the country.
Speak up. Write an op-ed to a newspaper or post on social media about using micromobility in your city.
Flexible Work Schedules. Allowing for flexible work schedules can support employees in using active mobility and micromobility to commute to work. Employees are more likely to make the switch to micromobility if they can travel during off-peak hours to avoid car traffic, can commute during daylight hours, and can have some wiggle room in planning their trip duration, as micromobility travel planning may be less precise than public transit.
Install showers and bike lockers. Encourage your employees to use active mobility to work by providing them access to shower and storage facilities. This workplace cycle facilities fact sheet offers a quick guide to assessing your organization’s needs.
Support parking cash-out programs. Under parking cash-out programs, employers give employees a cash bonus to those who do not drive to work. For example, Seattle Children’s Hospital offered each employee a four-dollar bonus every day they didn’t drive to work, and as a result 9 percent of hospital workers biked to work, almost double the city average.
Invest in micromobility infrastructure.
- Expand protected bike lanes. During the COVID-19 pandemic, several cities around the world have been opening up temporary bike lanes in response to an increase in cyclists. Even as other modes of transport become safe to use, planners can reclaim road space from cars by creating protected bike lanes next to sidewalks and ensuring an integrated network of bike lanes throughout the city.
- Create dedicated micromobility networks. Rather than adding micromobility lanes as an add-on to existing roads built for cars, some cities take a more proactive approach to micromobility infrastructure by creating dedicated micromobility networks. The Dutch “Hoofdnetten” is one such example, in which most cities in the Netherlands have dedicated streets for micromobility that are not shared with any other vehicles. The priority given to micromobility makes it a safer and more inclusive form of mobility and increases ridership.
- Install public lockers and showers. Provide infrastructure that supports the use of micromobility vehicles such as public lockers for wearables (helmets, safety vests, etc.), vehicle stands to lock devices to, and a network of showers to support active micromobility options in high-commute zones.
- Implement equity mandates and incentives. The benefits of micromobility are not always distributed equally by companies that rent out devices such as scooters or bicycles based on a subscription service. Communities of color and low-income communities are often excluded from access to micromobility services, due to language barriers, technology barriers, or living in transit deserts. You can implement equity-based policies to improve access to micromobility services in your city. For example, in Zapopan (Mexico), policies have been implemented that require companies to evenly distribute vehicles throughout the operating zone, and encourage payment methods for unbanked users or those without mobile data plans. In Minneapolis (U.S.) at least 30 percent of the operator’s fleet of scooters and bicycles must be distributed in designated underserved areas, with no more than 40 percent of the fleet placed in downtown or wealthy neighborhoods.
- Build micromobility elevated freeways. Micromobility highways prioritize the safety and convenience of micromobility users. In Denmark, cycle superhighways provide a safe and continuous lane to encourage users to use micromobility options for trips as long as three miles, or five kilometers. By building micromobility highways, officials can offer a cheaper, safer, and healthier alternative to people who are currently using cars for short-medium distance trips within the city.
Integrate micromobility with mass transit. To encourage passengers to use micromobility for the last mile of their journeys, planners can integrate infrastructure such as microvehicle and bicycle stands by train and bus stations. Additionally, planners can provide clear guidelines on the dimensions of microvehicles that can be carried on public transit to ease last-mile connectivity planning for users. See Urban Mobility.
Invest in public infrastructure. Vehicle-sharing companies can do their part in expanding the cycling infrastructure within the city, which in turn makes micromobility a more appealing mode of transport.
Provide live data on vehicle availability. Ensure data from docking stations or from geotagged vehicles is available to users in order for them to make informed decisions about their transit choices. Users are likely to make the switch if vehicles are regularly available within walking distance.
Design and provide different vehicles. Micromobility vehicles are often designed with an optimal user in mind. This imagined user is often an able-bodied adult male. As a company, you can design vehicles for a range of bodies and abilities. Islabikes in the UK, for example, designs bikes specifically for children and riders aged sixty-five years or over. Similarly, vehicles that serve more than single users can support women or other primary-care providers who are making trips to the grocery store or picking up their children from schools and day care.
Use differentiated pricing strategies. Companies like Bird and Lime already offer discounted rides to low-income users to make micromobility more accessible to underserved neighborhoods. Companies can raise additional revenues for these subsidized trips through on-vehicle advertising revenue. A similar pricing strategy could be used to incentivize particular times or routes to further increase accessibility for certain populations.
Using renewable energy to charge any electric vehicles. Ensure each electric-powered vehicle in your fleet is charged using renewable energy sources. You can influence citywide policies on shifting to renewable energy grids in the long run. In the short run, several companies are using solar-powered docks to charge their fleets.
Repair and recycle damaged vehicles. Studies show that the environmental impacts of micromobility such as e-scooters are mostly associated with the materials and manufacturing processes. By ensuring that vehicles in your fleet are repaired when broken, and repurposed or recycled responsibly once the vehicle can no longer be repaired, you can extend the life span of your vehicle and reduce pollution impacts.
Reselling older generation vehicles. Companies like TIER have committed to giving e-scooters of an older generation a second life by making them available for ownership. Consider company policies that redistribute older yet functional models of micromobility vehicles to communities that have the least access to public transit in the city.
Install more docking stations. Studies have shown that reducing collection and distribution distances of vehicles can help reduce the negative environmental impact that dockless micromobility vehicles have. By shifting toward a docked vehicle business model, companies are likely to extend the life cycle of their vehicles and simultaneously reduce vehicle life-cycle emissions.
Incentivize active mobility. Several apps have incentivized users toward active mobility by rewarding users in cash, discounts, or even charitable donations.
Designate car-free zones. Cities around the world are preventing fossil-fuel-powered cars from entering their streets or banning internal combustion engines altogether as early as 2025. You can write to your city officials to either temporarily or more permanently designate certain zones as car-free.
Prioritize road safety for micromobility and active transport. Many cities around the world continue to be designed primarily for cars. Join other cities in reclaiming streets by supporting micromobility-friendly policies, for example, by designing protected bike lanes and building a comprehensive micromobility network.
Assess and plan for accessibility. Micromobility vehicles and infrastructure can be sensitive to different user needs based on ability, gender, or age. Implement equity mandates and incentives to lower costs for marginalized communities and ensure distribution of micromobility networks across the city. Micromobility companies can also design vehicles for different abilities and ages.
Automotive companies are reported to be among some of the key opponents of climate action. Lobbying from the car industry in the U.S. and Europe has blocked and delayed efforts to reduce emissions in the transport sector. Influence Map’s research suggests that since 2015, the following companies in particular have been among the strongest opponents of legislation that meet the Paris agreement’s 1.5º C warming limit:
- Fiat Chrysler: Michael Manley is the CEO. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Daimler: Ola Källenius is the CEO. His email is not publicly listed, but the company can be contacted at email@example.com.
- BMW: Oliver Zipse is the chairman of the board of management. While there is no publicly listed email, the company can be contacted through their website.
Ride-sharing companies have used lobbying efforts in forty-one state legislatures to pass protections for their companies against local regulations that limit the number of vehicles on the road or improve drivers’ working conditions.
- Uber: Dara Khosrowshahi is the CEO. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Lyft: Logan Green is the CEO, Cofounder, and director. His email is email@example.com.
Organizations supporting micromobility transitions
Project for Public Spaces (United States)
Living Streets Aotearoa (New Zealand)
Mayors implementing strong public transit policies
Claudia López (Bogotá, Colombia)
Anne Hidalgo (Paris, France)
Mansur Yavas (Ankara, Turkey)
Matús Vallo (Bratislava, Slovakia)
Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr (Freetown, Sierra Leone)
Sadiq Khan (London, UK)
Giuseppe Sala (Milan, Italy)
Raymond Johansen (Oslo, Norway)
Jenny Durkan (Seattle, Washington)
Utrecht (Netherlands): Building a car-free district for 12,000 people
Copenhagen (Denmark): The making of a cycling-friendly city
Miami, Florida (USA): Funding protected bike lanes with e-scooter fees
Questions for Micromobility Companies
Is your service widely used? What percentage of trips are taken using micromobility?
Are your vehicles safe? How many fatal accidents take place in a year?
Is your service widely available? How many docks are available within each neighborhood?
Is micromobility available to those who are least able to access other transport options?
Is micromobility working for riders without creating problems for other modes of transportation?
Are people switching from car trips to micromobility vehicals?
Is your service affordable?
Is micromobility accessible to those without smartphones?
Are the vehicles well-maintained and do they last for over two years?
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