February Electric Micromobility project update
Welcome to Shared Mobility Inc. (SMI)’s February update on Informing Electric Micromobility (EMM) Policy Through Demonstrations & Planning, a NYSERDA funded project. This past month, we have been preparing for a summer of EMM demonstration programming while also checking in with municipal partners across Upstate on the status of their EMM planning.
This month also marks the beginning of the University at Buffalo graduate urban planning studio that will be working closely on this project, formulating recommendations for EMM planning in Upstate New York.
EMM news updates
As EMM operators make their case for inclusion in New York City’s e-scooter pilot program, LINK is touting their unique ability to best serve low income neighborhoods in the city’s outer boroughs. In the run-up to New York City’s pilot, questions remain concerning scootershare’s affordability and how the introduction of scootershare will affect demand for other modes of transportation. In Grand Rapids, their subsidized EMM pilot program has capped fees for use at $1 to unlock and 15 cents per minute. Affordability and equitable access of EMM has been in the news in San Francisco as well, where some are discussing a municipally owned bikeshare system as a replacement for Bay Wheels, which is operated by Lyft. This month’s EMM merger/acquisition: Gotcha Mobility has been acquired by Bolt Mobility, presenting an uncertain future for many cities that formally relied on Gotcha for bikeshare operations (including Syracuse’s short lived e-bikeshare). Sidestepping considerations of affordability, equitable access, and sustainable service models, the EMM industry’s largest operators have begun 2021 by highlighting new technologies. Spin has partnered with Tortoise and Segway-Ninebot to pilot a fleet of three-wheeled scooters in Boise that can be autonomously repositioned. Also, Lime announced that it will start introducing electric mopeds in select cities this year. As the 117th US Congress sets its legislative agenda, EMM has been the focus of some proposed legislation. The Bikeshare Transit Act would make it easier for micromobility to access USDOT funding and allow scootershare to access Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality dollars. Another proposed bill would provide a federal tax incentive for individuals who purchase e-bikes.
We continue to have ongoing conversations with EMM vendors to incorporate a wider breadth of devices and charging infrastructure into our 2021 demos. As the industry changes and introduces new technologies, we want to make sure these innovations are available for this summer’s demonstration events. This month we'll also be continuing to work with our UB partners as the graduate planning studio gets further underway.