Going Small – The Transition to Urban Micromobility

Speaker: Todd Nguyen

Scheduled in program: Friday, 25th November 04:00 - 04:30 PM
Spin Cycle in Theme: Making it There

Micromobility devices have proliferated around the world and have become part of the new mobility world. While they offer many benefits for sustainability, wellbeing and accessibility, they also bring new challenges for cities unprepared for the explosion of small, single-person vehicles flooding their streets.

Transport planner Todd Nguyen will explore how cities can manage the wide-ranging implications for transit networks, streetscapes, social justice and human behaviour.

Leading e-bike and e-scooter brands such as Lime, Bird and Mobike have experienced rapid growth because of increased focus on health, wellness and social distancing. E-Scooters and e-bikes have become more attractive as alternative modes for first and last-mile travel and cities need to be Future Ready™.

Todd says the transition to urban micromobility has largely been a ‘move first, ask later’ approach, appearing in cities with littke or no notice. They have often relied on retrospective lobbying to retain their right to operate, supported by an eager consumer base and a wider argument favouring green, active travel.

To shed light on the urban micromobility transition, Todd will examine various emerging models of operation and regulation, as well as the interrelationships between shared micromobility operators, municipalities and users.

He will highlight key micromobility victories when it is managed and regulated well, including:

  • filling gaps in city transport networks and connecting communities. For example, Paris moped operator Cityscoot extended its operating area beyond the ring road, allowing residents to more easily access Métro stations on the other side.
  • close collaboration with cities for seamless implementation. In Auckland, the city administration set an initial cap of 600 vehicles and limited them to downtown areas. A year later, a second pilot phase introduced a 15kmh speed limit, geofencing to identify parking outside designated areas, and a requirement for all riders to be at least 18 years old and hold a valid driving licence
  • achieving equitable access and usage. San Francisco developed a permit system for dockless bike share providers that scores on 12 criteria, including community engagement, equitable access and employment practices.