E-scooter sharing schemes are gaining popularity throughout the various cities around the globe over the last years. However, their popularity, which is based on the development of the sharing economy triggered by technological innovations, is twofold.
Check out this map of free floating micro-mobility sharing schemes made by Augustin Friedel.
On the one hand, the e-scooter represent convenient, individual, flexible and pro-ecological means of transport. An attractive alternative to the car is thus by many city planning authorities perceived as an essential tool of transition towards sustainable mobility development.
On the other hand, besides its proclaimed advantages, the e-scooter sharing schemes are a source of new challenges many municipalities across the world have to deal with.
For more, head out to Governing Micro-Mobility: A Nationwide Assessment of Electric Scooter Regulations by Anderson-Hall et al. (2019) or The Promise and Pitfalls of E-Scooter Sharing by Schellong et al. (2019).
- How to define the new legislative norms?
- How to secure the safety of pedestrians, cyclist, car-drivers and users of e-scooters?
- How to “force” the e-scooter sharing schemes operators to collaborate on creating the conditions so the e-scooters could genuinely enhance sustainable development?
- How to integrate the micro-mobility sharing systems with existing transport services?
Those are just a few of crucial questions city planning authorities should seek to answer.
The London Micromobility Alliance, which represents 17 various sharing micro-mobility services, has issued an open letter to the British government asking for support in creating a new legislative framework. This legislative framework should cover not only the current issues like safety but also the question of sustainability.
Municipalities from Poland choose various paths. Cracow, Sosnowiec and Lublin for the moment are signing voluntary agreements. Their aim is to solve the fundamental issues of parking restrictions and speed limitations in various parts of the city — usually, areas which are highly exposed to pedestrians such as parks or historical centres.
Radical plans were announced in Copenhagen. According to the city officials, Copenhagen reveals the intentions to entirely ban the e-scooter sharing schemes in the centre of the city. It would be one of the most strict regulations towards the micro-mobility sharing schemes — a symbol of sharing economy as referred in a local danish newspaper which has informed about the intentions.
The restrictions are at the moment in the phase of planning and should be implemented since 1st of January 2021. After this date, it will be impossible to rent and park the e-scooter in the most build-up areas of Copenhagen.
Growing problem of wrongly parked vehicles, worsening the situation for pedestrians, is the trigger for such unprecedented restrictions.
The plan however has to be firstly approved by the city council. But how the local danish server informed, the plans for the restrictions are just gaining popularity.
As I argue in the introduction. The e-scooter sharing systems represents the branch of alternative and environment-friendly means of transport. The cities and operators are well aware of this fact. Bolt, one of the e-scooter sharing schemes operators, for example, announced plans to rationalize its supply chains which should consider growing environment demands as reducing the carbon footprint.
Those are all great plans. However, for the future, the agreement must be reached between city officials and micro-mobility sharing schemes operators. The deal has to cover not only the safety standards and regulations but first and foremost to ensure that proclaimed environmental visions won’t be just marketing strategies but will also be translated into real actions.