Balancing Sustainable Urban Development and Micro-Mobility

1 April 2020
Blazing down the road on an electric scooter can be a fun and effective way to get you from A to B. But, is it safe, sustainable and does it contribute to a city’s wider mobility priorities? The report Achieving Sustainable Micro-Mobility identifies a framework to access micro-mobility schemes.
E-scooters in Paris

E-scooters in Paris


Ian Sacs

Ian Sacs

Market Manager, Smart Mobility
T: +358 40 1682836

Tuomas Palonen

Transport planner
T: +358 50 4039540
Marianne Weinreich

Marianne Weinreich

Market manager Smart Mobility
T: +45 5161 4968

Ramboll Smart Mobility was asked by the City of Hoboken, as part of their six-month micro-mobility pilot program evaluation, to provide programme recommendations. Achieving Sustainable Micro-Mobility is based on this initial work with Hoboken and identifies an approach that allows micro-mobility stakeholders in any city to better measure the impact and manage micro-mobility schemes.

The report proposes the establishment of 12 strategic goals within a generally defined set of common goals to make it easier to benchmark schemes.

The rise of micro-mobility

In the past few years, micro-mobility services like shared bike and scooter schemes have arrived at unprecedented speed and scale to cities that are oftentimes ill-prepared to manage them. Typically, these services are introduced by private operators and are deployed as a “floating” system, meaning that only the vehicles themselves are physically present in public spaces. Legislation does not clearly define these new vehicles, and new business models do not fit neatly into existing methods of managing private businesses in public spaces.

The transportation community has responded by producing several helpful publications on the topic of micro-mobility, bringing more clarity and understanding to this phenomenon, documenting the growth and expansion of programs in cities, and providing guidance on good practice. Nonetheless, cities and operators still find it difficult to know if their micro-mobility programs are serving the community well, aligned with transport policies and how well the elements of their programs compare to other cities around the world.

You can’t manage what you don’t measure

Lack of data and metrics used to evaluate the impact of micro-mobility programs make it difficult for cities and operators to assess if a micro-mobility solution serves the community well. As of now, there is a need for more accessible data and a framework if we want to manage the future implementation of micro-mobility services in cities.

A clear example is that of micro-mobility crashes and injuries data. If available at all, these data are currently provided without any context, which leads to concerns regarding the safety of such schemes. If crash data were reported in wider context, such as the percentage of overall motor vehicle crashes, the public and even critics might not find the numbers so alarming. In this way, communities can be better informed and have a stronger understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of micro-mobility.

Ian Sacs, Market Manager at Ramboll Smart Mobility says: “The assessment work we did for Hoboken, led to the identification of 12 universal strategic goals. They function as a framework that can help cities of all sizes manage new mobility offerings such a shared scooter and bike schemes.

A large range of stakeholders have contributed to the development of the framework. 15 cities, public transit agencies, micro-mobility operators and regional expert organisations have provided perspectives, anecdotes, experiences, and the factual data that underpins the report’s conclusions.

“The Smart Mobility team wanted to move the discussion away from general statistics about micro-mobility and towards the identification of strategic goals and tangible key performance indicators (KPI) that can be measured by any city to better understand how successful and sustainable they are in providing new mobility options to their communities, and where they can improve” Ian Sachs concludes

Read the full report here (PDF, 7.8 MB).

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