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Guide aims to help cities integrate micro-mobility options

The National League of Cities provides city case studies, policy advice and an overview of the challenges and opportunities presented by the various mobility options.

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Micro-mobility trips soared to 84mn in the US in 2018, up from 35mn
Micro-mobility trips soared to 84mn in the US in 2018, up from 35mn

US advocacy organisation, the National League of Cities (NLC), has issued a guide intended to help advise local leaders how best to integrate micro-mobility options into their communities.

 

Micro-mobility in Cities: A History and Policy Overview documents micro-mobility, from the first bike-share system introduced in 1965 to the rise of e-scooters, which first appeared on city streets in 2017.

 

 

Case studies and recommendations

 

The report sets out to provide city leaders with background information, case studies (including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington DC, New York City, and Kansas) and recommendations to help them make the right decisions for their communities.

 

The term micro-mobility refers to several modes of transportation, namely docked and dockless bike-share systems, electric bikes and electric scooters.

 

Many of these modes share some distinct features, such as increased flexibility in routes, access via connected devices like smart phones and shareability. They are also designed to serve individual users.

 

Micro-mobility systems are an increasingly important part of local transit and transportation options, according to NLC.

 

In 2017, 35 million bike share trips were taken, an increase of 25 per cent over the year before. Last year, the number of trips taken soared to 84 million.

 

While some communities have figured out the interplay between operators and regulators, others are still working through how to manage this new transportation landscape, the report finds.

"By collaborating and working together, the public and private sector can create policies that work for cities, and real mobility options with true seamlessness between modes of transportation”

“Unfortunately, the model of entering a city first and asking forgiveness later is alive and well with the advent of these new services,” said Brooks Rainwater, senior executive and director of NLC’s Centre for City Solutions.

 

“But by collaborating and working together, the public and private sector can create policies that work for cities, and real mobility options with true seamlessness between modes of transportation.”

 

Other challenges for communities include ensuring safety, managing kerb space, enabling users to take advantage of first- and last mile benefits, and launching pilot programmes.

 

Recommendations for local leaders in the report include:

  • Get out in front of surprise deployments
  • Utilise pilot programmes to consider right of way policy, cost structure, sustainability and opportunities to work with different companies
  • Consider safety
  • Develop a plan and agreement for trip data
  • Reevaluate bike infrastructure
  • Focus on equity
  • Be proactive about learning from other cities.

“While there is a great deal of promise with these innovations, the emergence of micro-mobility comes with its own set of challenges and considerations for planners, residents and local decisionmakers,” added Clarence Anthony, CEO and executive director of NLC.

 

“At the same time, many communities still have vast surface transportation needs which must be addressed for micro-mobility to take shape.”

 

He continued: “NLC’s micro-mobility guide provides local leaders with the information they need to tailor local regulations for these new modes of transportation.”

 

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