The regulatory landscape for shared mobility is complex. There are unique variations in policies emerging across jurisdictions throughout Europe. The inclination towards collaborative mobility planning in our urban spaces can also diverge drastically between cities.
That’s what makes conversations like The State of Micromobility Regulations in 2023 so valuable. Interested viewers are given the opportunity to hear directly from shared mobility experts on the issues that impact them most and these thought leaders can share their predictions and visions for a more connected future.
But we’re all busy – sometimes too busy to attend webinars. So, in case you missed out on April’s The State of Micromobility Regulations in 2023 webinar we have you covered. The webinar, hosted by Micromobility Industries brought together leaders at IDnow, TIER Mobility, Brussels Mobility, and of course, goUrban to discuss:
- the current regulatory frameworks for shared micromobility
- the challenges operators are facing
- the ways in which cities, operators and technology operators can come together to create more equitable mobility environments
Here’s a recap of the key takeaways from The State of Micromobility Regulations in 2023 webinar – and if you’d like to keep the conversation going be sure to follow us on Linkedin. We promise to keep you in the loop on future industry chats.
Watch the recording:
Moderator: Oliver Bruce, The Micromobility Conference & Podcast
- Michael Holland-Nell, Senior Sales Manager Mobility at IDnow
- Usman Abid, Senior Product Manager at Tier
- Martin Lefrancq, New Mobility Policy Advisor at Brussels Mobility
- Felix Aumair, Head of Customer Success at goUrban
What has been the impact of the recent ban in Paris on the micromobility industry? Does this indicate a wider trend towards banning e-scooters across Europe?
According to Usman Abid, Paris has been a leader in the micromobility sector, being the first city to implement organized and mandatory parking requirements. He also commented on the low voter turnout (only 7%) for the recent e-scooter ban and expressed concerns regarding such a small group of people having a disproportionate impact on the mobility landscape of the city. Abid also believes that other cities are moving in the opposite direction and embracing micromobility as an integral part of their mobility ecosystem. He referenced a study commissioned by the city of Paris which found that 19% of trips made using shared mobility options would have been made by another motorized vehicle – proving the value of the e-scooter as a deterrent for less sustainable transportation options.
Michael Holland-Nell, Senior Sales Manager Mobility at IDnow, shared his perspective on the Paris vote, stating that the outcome has highlighted that there is still a lot of work to be done by both operators and cities alike. However, he also believes that this provides an opportunity for investment and a bigger focus on improving and developing future micromobility services.
Felix Aumari, Head of Customer Success at goUrban, commented on the varying levels of micromobility integration in different cities and how this can lead to overreactions or underreactions. He believes that the bigger impact is on the operators themselves, who will face increasing challenges in reaching a profitable sweet spot.
How are shared operators thinking about adapting to these challenges?
All shared mobility operators face regulatory challenges, said Usam, but the industry is evolving as they learn about user needs and public concerns. Operators need to meet the needs of both their users and the public to stay profitable. While the Paris ban is a setback, the will of all operators to keep improving will stay the same.
Felix stated that the Paris ban offers a great opportunity to rethink shared mobility. He predicted that operators would proceed in a three-step process, starting with moving to a new area to maintain revenue, then applying resources to prevent the same situation from happening again in other cities – ideally by engaging the public in conversation, and finally applying new technology to prevent public impacts. In the long term, he believes that operators can be more effective by focusing on the service they provide to users or reducing costs by working with technology partners.
Martin also stressed that collaboration between shared mobility operators and cities is key to improving micromobility services. Meetings with operators should not only focus on policies and governance but also operations to make things better for everyone. Bike-sharing specifically is quickly becoming Brussel’s fourth pillar of public transit, so stronger collaboration between operators and cities will be beneficial in solidifying micromobility’s place in the urban mobility ecosystem.
How can we start conversations with micromobility operators into achieving our city-wide goals like emission reduction? How can regulators get excited about the potential of shared mobility operators?
Martin made the sensible suggestion to include micromobility operators in a city’s strategy for sustainable urban mobility from the start. He also made the recommendation of inviting a diverse group of stakeholders to planning meetings, ideally those with different viewpoints in order to encourage the kind of debates that can help form a better overall plan.
Usman instead focused on emphasizing the urgent need for sustainable mobility solutions to reduce the dramatic impact of climate change. Speaking from personal experience, he shared how the 2022 floods in Pakistan devastated his birthplace. The floods were caused by a combination of abnormally heavy monsoon rains and melting glaciers, followed by a severe heat wave, all of which are events linked to climate change. He explained that despite Pakistan’s relatively low carbon emissions, the country still found itself a victim of one of history’s deadliest natural disasters – reiterating the point that climate change is a global problem to solve. He highlighted the potential of micromobility in reducing carbon emissions in cities as a step to alleviate this problem.
Like Martin, Usman also proposed engaging in discussions with broader stakeholders, including communities, users, and policymakers, to foster trust and cooperation and make micromobility an integral part of mobility in general.
Which cities are doing the best when it comes to integrating micromobility as part of the overall transport system?
Many cities in Northern Europe such as Copenhagen, Oslo, and Amsterdam are at the forefront of integrating micromobility into their overall transportation system, shared Martin, while other smaller cities across France and Spain are also making interesting strides in this area. He also expressed his belief that innovation in urban transport is happening globally and isn’t confined to just one country or region.
Martin also mentioned his home city of Brussels has made significant changes in the past decade, such as dedicating large spaces for walking and cycling and implementing the concept of “a 30km city”, which has had a positive impact on noise levels and road safety, as well as improved interactions between micromobility users and other modes of transport in traffic.
What measures or technology can micromobility operators implement to improve responsible use of systems and compliance?
Both Michael and Felix shared the opinion that micromobility operators should implement measures and technology to improve the responsible use of systems while also empowering themselves to be fully compliant with their regulatory obligations.
Michael suggested that while operators must gather customer data responsibly and in line with data protection regulations, they should also be able to do so flexibly to manage their ever-evolving regulatory requirements. The ability to simultaneously react to different scenarios in different jurisdictions will be one of the key success factors of operators looking to find success in international expansion.
Felix instead emphasized the importance of knowing the customer and seamlessly integrating data gathering into the user experience to balance ease of use with regulatory obligations. He also highlighted that the needs of cities must be considered when designing the user experience. The ability for operators to impose and enforce speed limits, geofencing, and real-time tracking of the vehicles are just a few elements that could improve how micromobility options are received in urban spaces. Operators should also encourage responsible use and provide a seamless experience from start to end.
As the micromobility industry continues to evolve what are the key trends and developments that will shape the regulatory landscape in the coming years?
Martin emphasized the importance of discussing the form factor of micromobility beyond just e-scooters, suggesting that regulations should allow for new spaces for different types of micromobility. He also mentioned the trend of more hybrid models in terms of free-floating, dedicated parking zones, and station-based models.
Michael noted that as populations in big cities continue to grow, micromobility will become an even more important tool to handle the volume and that regulations will continue to rise to organize the increase in usage. He emphasized the need to balance the different requirements of users, cities, and operators to ensure that regulations do not lead to users abandoning micromobility options altogether.
Felix mentioned that e-scooter regulation will continue to be a trend, as well as data sharing and privacy. He also expects to see more cities embrace multimodal integrations, where an annual pass could provide open access to different forms of shared mobility. Furthermore, he predicted that insurance regulations for operators will become stricter, and the environmental impact of the micromobility vehicles themselves will also come under scrutiny.
Usman shared his belief that the willingness of the public to use micromobility is consistent and will build on the growth trajectory we have seen so far. He emphasized the need for a clear and consistent regulatory framework that considers micromobility as part of a broader ecosystem. He also emphasized the importance of an iterative approach to testing regulations in the wild and adapting as required – rather than trying to apply a set-it-and-forget-it approach.
The webinar concluded with a Q&A period from attendees, which you can tune into starting at 42:36. Audience members expressed curiosity in the panel’s perspective on the potential shift from shared micromobility to private usage as well as the role the form factor may be playing in legislation decisions like the ones made in Paris. We encourage you to watch for yourself, or better yet, attend future webinars to participate in the discussion.
We encourage you not to miss out on industry chats like these ones by following us on Linkedin – we’ll keep you posted on any can’t-miss events coming up in the shared mobility space.