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No Competition: Five Micromobility Firms Issue Recommendations for Cities

Thursday, Mars 23, 2023

Five leading e-scooter and e-bike operators have published ten recommendations to help European cities integrate shared micromobility vehicles more safely onto their streets.

In order to help cities to reduce air pollution and provide alternatives to private cars, Dott, Lime, Superpedestrian, TIER Mobility, and Voi have collaborated to create a framework, a rare move in the highly competitive industry. They put forward ten recommendations across two main topics: defining an environment where the micromobility should function in and highlighting the best way to regulate programs to be financially sustainable over the long term.

In the joint statement, Henri Moissinac (CEO, Dott), Wayne Ting (CEO, Lime), Assaf Biderman (CEO, Superpedestrian), Lawrence Leuschner (CEO, TIER Mobility), and Fredrik Hjelm (CEO, Voi), said, “In pretty short time, the micromobility industry experienced huge growth, providing the strongest challenge yet to personal car use in cities. To ensure ongoing sustainability and global consistency, we combined our expertise to develop recommendations to cities that we believe are best practices for regulating micromobility programs.”

One recommendation of the framework concerns fleet size and vendor contract length, connecting these factors to produce greater reliability for frequent riders such as those who use the service for commutes to work or university. It suggests that the addition of new vehicles to city streets should be directly tied to the operator’s performance in keeping city streets tidy and well-maintained.

Another recommendation is connected to rider experience. It includes contract terms long enough for riders to become familiar with a brand’s service and rely on it, practical parking schemes, and contiguous coverage areas.

Finally, the framework touches on some technical recommendations such as data-sharing protocols, vendor fees, and encouraging cities to consider reliability, safety, and fleet management as the top selection criteria. The framework suggests operating areas contiguous with city boundaries where possible, speeds between 20-25km/h, ample parking, and helmets should be encouraged but not mandatory.

“We came together to issue these recommendations. Now that we’ve demonstrated what conditions lead to sustainable services, we’re looking forward to working with city authorities to put these recommendations into action.”

Personal Comment:

Considering the level of competition between micromoblity operators it is surprising that they decided to collaborate. These recommendations do not sound like something new though. In 2021 the International Transport Forum also suggested some recommendations. They were related to fleet size, regulatory fees, safety and speed limits. As I see it, there is a different emphasis between the two. The recommendations from ITF emphasis wider social issues, such as, equity and affordability, while the recommendations proposed by operators seem to emphasis promoting their services rather than other aspects.

Perhaps the most interesting and consequential part of the recommendations is that they mention uniform and automated data sharing with cities. One of the standards they suggest is the ‘Mobility Data Specification’, started by Open Mobility Foundation in the US, but which is gaining momentum now in Europe. The ITF report also highlights this suggestion, though they point out that cities are usually unsure or not prepared to do anything with the data, and they recommend only more generically, or at a high-level the need for standards. However, with the operators clearly wanting to share data, and taking the next step, there is a good opportunity for collaboration between cities, industries, and researchers to use this data to advance a fair and sustainable transition of our cities.

The Written by Kateryna Melnyk,
RISE Mobility & Systems