Micromobility can be a catch-all term for various device types, but typically includes “e-scooters, electric bikes, and pedal bikes, whether docked or dockless.” Electric scooters are the fastest-growing micromobility device on the market, and often find themselves in the heart of controversy as cities try to figure out a model of best fit
A micromobility device is typically connected to the user via a mobile app, which will provide location services as well as facilitate rental transactions. Riders unlock the device via their phone, and are charged based on the length of time they use the device
Key players in the industry include Bird and Lime, with ridesharing companies, such as Lyft and Uber, entering the market as well. New companies are racing to join, with Indian bike rental startup, Bounce, raising $105M in a new round of funding, while others report massive amounts of growth. Uber’s entry in the market, Jump, reported five million trips over eight months throughout its European markets
The shared micromobility movement appeals to many. Environmental pundits love the zero-emissions electric (or self-propelled) nature of the devices, while some urbanites claim micromobility options reduce congestion, giving users car-alternatives for shorter trips. Municipalities struggle with implementation, citing issues related to accessibility, traffic flow disruption and safety concerns, signifying that there are larger issues that need to be solved for micromobility to move into the future.
While micromobility has had some growing pains, the outlook is promising; several major funding investments and acquisitions have taken place. Industry leaders — such as Spin — continue to expand into warm-weather markets, while research and design continue to evolve micromobility in new directions. Recent developments that have been encouraged by municipal regulations include accessible options to service all types of riders.