“Not since the arrival of bikes and automobiles have we experienced such rapid change,” says Karen Johnston, Associate Director of the Center for the Comparative Study for Metropolitan Growth
What is Micromobility?
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, micromobility is “a category of modes of transportation that includes very light, low-occupancy vehicles such as electric scooters (e-scooters), electric skateboards, shared bicycles, and electric pedal assisted bicycles (e-bikes)”. Horace Dediu, who is widely credited with originally coining the term micromobility, defined these modes as “everything that is not a car” that weighs less than 1,000 pounds. Over the last few years, shared micromobility has evolved considerably.
“Everything that is not a car” that weighs less than 1,000 pounds
-Horace Dediu on what constitutes Micromobility
Until relatively recently, shared micromobility consisted of shared e-bikes in a few select cities. E-bikes fit well into the existing transportation system, since they were already regulated. People generally knew what to expect from bicycles: where they would ride, how fast they would go, and how they would behave. In 2018, the U.S. market for shared e-scooters exploded. In many cities, officials were not informed of planned scooter deployments before they occurred, leading to confusion. Unlike e-bikes, the existing legislation was often not totally applicable to e-scooters. Fortunately, since that time, significant progress has been made and many areas now have robust legislation governing shared e-scooters. Many cities have published their findings to share their knowledge with others.
This site summarizes many of those findings, which could help other planners and legislators who are integrating micromobility (mainly e-scooters) into their transportation infrastructures, with a special focus on the needs and responsibilities of bystanders (non-riders). A comprehensive report with more details and references referred to on this site can be found under the resources tab of this site. The rise of micromobility has changed the conversation around transportation from car-centric to a multimodal perspective that considers the needs of all users.
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