In this COVID-19 reality of social distancing and dangerous sneezing, public transportation isn’t the safest way to move around. Passengers might all be wearing masks and respecting the rules, but how safe is public or shared transportation? Both ways of travel entail closed spaces with close contacts and sometimes crowds, so not the optimal way to avoid the virus.
Still, commuters, workers, and even students need to get places. That’s when micro-mobility comes into the stage, perhaps changing the way we move forever.
What is micro-mobility?
Anything smaller than a car and with a top speed below 25 km/p (or 15 mph). As one of the leading micro-mobility blogs ERideHero reports, some of these vehicles include everything electronic such as scooters, hover-boards, skateboards, and unicycles. The first micro-mobility vehicle was the beloved and century-old bicycle, but it’s not always comfortable or feasible to get to work.
The bicycle takes more time, takes more of your breath away, and it might be even dangerous in high-traffic areas. While more and more cities have a bike-sharing system, electric scooters are taking over too. Scooters meaning both smaller cylinder bikes such as an electric Vespa (in Rome) and scooters like the kids’ toys, which you can find in San Francisco.
If it’s not shared, micro-mobility includes your scooter, the hover-board you bought, or the skateboards. Perhaps you prefer the unicycles, to make your commute even funnier. All electric, to both, save energy and the environment.
The rise in fame
These e-vehicles are becoming more and more popular, especially for people who live in cities. Riders have replaced their car rides with e-scooters (up to 30 percent of riders) and European based e-scooter startups who have recently raised more than $150 million over just a few months. The cash influx is due to demand. More and more commuters are turning to micro-mobility and the industry is growing.
As the industry grows, the quality of the products increases, which is especially true for hover-boards. These vehicles never decreased in popularity, despite the incidents that drivers had. Hover-boards have become safer thanks to the many standards they have to meet before hitting the market. They are also equipped with LED lights, to be more visible.
Commuters love these light-weight vehicles that are not a pain to park and that can go everywhere, even when cars are in a jam.
The benefits of micro-mobility
As McKinsey reports, micro-mobility could apply to all trips of less than 8 km (5 miles) and about 60 percent of current car trips are less than 8 kilometres. Taking a car is time-consuming, gas-consuming, and perhaps a headache, so micro-mobility is the solution.
American drives have lost over 99 hours per year in traffic, costing them an average of $1,400. Micro-mobility vehicles have a positive impact on congestion, reducing both pollution and waiting times. Micro-mobility vehicles are also easier to maintain than a car since they have sensors that can prevent malfunction.
It doesn’t just replace the private car, but also public transportation. Drivers of e-scooter or skateboards don’t have to stick to a timetable or wait for a delayed bus. They can just grab their vehicle and go.
Finally, every shared-economy means of transportation has an app. The applications for these e-scooters, bikes, and skateboards give riders useful information that a car system won’t have. They include data such as the closest charging stations, the actual stations where to pick up these vehicles, and a quick contact for any issues.
Finally, micro-mobility is cost-efficient. The vehicles are cheaper. For example, the best seller e-skateboard for commuters is the Boosted Mini X which costs an average of $999. The best unicycle out there is the InMotion V10 Electric Unicycle, with an average price tag of $1,299. Meanwhile, the best hover-board for commuters is the Segway Ninebot S Electric Transporter with an average price tag of $490.
Micro-mobility is the future
These light-weight, cheaper, and more eco-friendly vehicles are the future of mobility, especially for crowded places. Commuters were already seeing the benefits and now, in this COVID-19 world, the benefits will become even more apparent. People feel more comfortable on e-scooters than on crowded trains.
By 2030, 60 percent of the global population will live in cities which will produce 70 percent of global emissions. Both the demand and the market are growing since the industry is expected to reach $10.2 billion in 2025.
These vehicles are the future. They symbolise a greener future, with speeding commuters and colourful charging stations.