Micromobility has become the center of attention, breaking the status quo of car culture and giving opportunity to rehumanize our cities.
In the last 100 years cars have become the center of our world, changing the design of cities and making us lose time, money and quality of life. According to a study done by INRIX, a transportation consulting firm, congestion - caused by the excess of cars - costs in the U.S. $ 305 billion in 2017.
According to the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), transport consumes about 53% of all world oil production, and more than half of this transportation non-renewable energy consumption is made by cars and motorcycles. And studies by the World Health Organization (WHO) show that about 4.5 million people died prematurely in 2015 because of ambient air pollution, including 237,000 children under five years' old.
In terms of safety, car culture has also made our cities extremely dangerous. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 1.35 million people die every year on the roads. Many of these deaths occur in urban areas, and heavy motor vehicles - as car, buses and trucks - are the primary responsible.
Is the way we organize our cities during the last century reasonable? Are the amount of money wasted, pollution emitted and people deaths - by pollution or accidents - acceptable?
We believe this is completely unacceptable. That's why we need to move on.
Non-governmental organizations, activists and regulatory actors have not managed to completely massify the message of human mobility with the bicycle as the sole example of what it should be. Shared electric scooters, an important type of micromobility system, gives the opportunity to massify positive impacts and provide new options for users who, for one reason or another, have not exchanged their cars for bicycles.
Micromobility is related to human-sized vehicles, with no emission of air pollutants, that make short and medium length trips, connected or not with other types of transport. Micromobility solutions contemplate light vehicles, like bicycles, e-bicycles, e-scooter, e-mopeds and other type of transport of reduced size. These machines fit the idea of MOVING PEOPLE, not moving themselves, their bodies and their heavy engines. Machines adapted to people, where the city should flow at the rhythm of people, and not people at the rhythm of machines.
Micromobility is a pillar of the concept of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) according to the definition discussed at the 2019 Summit of the International Transport Forum (ITF). MaaS is related to the usage of multiple means to attend daily travel needs, and it requests a real cooperation between government and the private sector, with a general view of what mobility today demands.
Public transport will always handle longer distance trips, regulation must define the rights of all actors of the ecosystem and all new mobility services, where micromobility has great importance, cover the blank spaces that have no other transportation alternatives. The MaaS Alliance adds that mobility as a service is the integration of various forms of transport services into a single, accessible and on-demand mobility service.
One of the first micromobility evaluation by the Government of the District of Columbia - in December 2018 - shows an analysis of traditional dock systems related to bicycles and e-scooters dockless in Washington, DC. People are adopting the dockless systems with no impact on the use of traditional ones. Demand seems to coexist, showing that the citizens are looking for new ways around cities, in a lighter, more connected and environmentally responsible way.
Recently Grow published a survey of its bikes and e-scooters’ users, showing interesting information about modal integration and micromobility in São Paulo (Brazil). Around 12% of e-scooter trips and 30% of bike trips were taken after subway or train trips. Also, 10% of e-scooter trips and 20% of bike trips were integrated to bus trips. Dockless vehicles covered blank spaces where public transportation doesn't reach, working together to offer other options of transport for people who want practicality and less time in transit.
Micromobility helps people rethink public space by opening the discussion on the traditional usage - or privatization - of the public space for private car parking. Recently, the government of Lisbon, Portugal decided to transform the area used for parking for 1,600 cars into a space for bicycles and e-scooters, giving at least one option on each block. This is an example of how micromobility is becoming a pillar in the humanization of cities.
Government investment in active mobility is really important, increasing infrastructure, promotion and diffusion not only for micromobility services but also for all bicycle and pedestrian facilities, giving people the freedom to choose the transportation composition of their choice.
Micromobility is a healthier and more sustainable alternative for short trips, it boosts pressure for the improvement of city design in a human perspective, makes people rethink the dependence of the car and works together with public transportation. Our goal is for users to feel included on the streets and to generate confidence and safety in their use. Let’s Grow!