So what is micromobility anyway? While there is no standardized definition of micromobility, it is generally used to describe small vehicles that can seamlessly navigate highly populated urban areas. Micromobility vehicles are designed for short trips of only a few miles and travel at low speeds, typically under 15 MPH. These vehicles do not rely on internal combustion engines, but they many are powered by electric motors.
Micromobility devices may be privately owned, but are often shared-use vehicles that are maintained by a municipal government or private entity. Micromobility devices are particularly appealing to residents of densely populated areas, as they provide quick and convenient transportation to nearby destinations such as grocery stores, shops, or entertainment venues. Vehicles such as eScooters, Vespas, Segways, standard bikes, eBikes and human-powered or electric rickshaws are also available in many major cities for touring and guided tours.
Micro mobility solutions have experienced a surge in popularity as owning a vehicle in many urban areas can be impractical and relying on schedule-based public transportation is not always convenient. Between the cost of vehicle ownership, rising insurance costs, and a lack of convenient parking, many residents opt not to purchase a traditional car. The following cities have already experienced significant micro mobility market growth or have performed important pilot projects:
In order to create a cohesive network of micromobility devices, an organization or municipality must establish the technology and infrastructure to support the project, and potentially work with a systems integrator or wireless design team to develop the wireless technology for mobile connectivity.
Some of the key needs and considerations for these projects, from a planning perspective, include the following — depending on whether the vehicles are electric, whether they must be docked or can be abandoned, and other considerations:
Digi can be a valuable asset to an organization during the planning and implementation process, as we offer the Digi ConnectCore® embedded system-on-module (SOM) development platform, the Digi XBee ecosystem of wireless communication modules (including cellular and RF mesh protocols), as well as networking solutions, including routers and gateways, and product design and testing services.
Additionally, Digi offers a full suite of software and services:
5G Connectivity for Public Transit and Commercial Transportation
Despite the fact that the micromobility market size has grown tremendously in just a few short years, with companies like Lyft and Bird leading the way, the industry itself is still in its infancy. As a result, new innovations are occurring frequently and creative solutions are always on the horizon.
However, several traditional solutions have gained quite a bit of traction with consumers. A few examples include rickshaws and pedicabs, cargo bikes, skateboards and rideshare bicycles.
In addition to these options, eBikes and eScooters are becoming a common phenomenon in major cities. Rideshare companies and municipalities are deploying these micromobility solutions throughout cities so that residents can easily access them when they need transportation. When equipped with edge computing technology and IoT devices, micromobility solutions such as these can be precisely tracked and managed. Asset management is integral to the success of any micromobility program.
All told, the micromobiltiy trend includes a growing variety of vehicles :
Micromobility solutions have become a hot topic as cities across the globe focus on leveraging technology for the purposes of increasing sustainability. Leading-edge technologies such as IoT devices will allow organizations to implement complex micromobility transportation networks. This will improve the lives of citizens while simultaneously benefiting the municipality in reducing traffic congestion and vehicle emissions.
There are a number of additional benefits of micromobilty technology.
Of all the movements shaping the micromobility space, the electric scooter trend is by far one of the most notable. The electric scooter industry has expanded significantly in just a few years and the future outlook is impressive.
While the e scooter trend is dominating the micromobility sector, a few other devices are being utilized with increasing frequency as well, including eBikes for commuters and travelers, while Segways, rickshaws and pedicabs will see increasing usage as global tourism experiences a lift in a post-pandemic world.
As a matter of necessity, micromobility solutions must be outfitted with specialized technologies. This includes IoT devices for wireless communication, GPS hardware, and much more. Naturally, launching a complex transportation network that incorporates so much emerging tech presents its fair share of challenges.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle facing developers and the micromobility market is logistics. Every device, as well as the charging stations or docks where they are stored, must be carefully tracked and maintained. Otherwise, the total cost of doing business would not be sustainable. Overcoming this challenge involves selecting underlying technology that supports remote monitoring, and integrates an IoT management platform.
Another major barrier that developers must overcome is misuse and theft. Some percentage of micromobility usage is bound to result in damaged or stolen equipment. Micromobility stakeholders must take steps to mitigate these issues if they hope to receive a return on their investment.
Micromobility developers that successfully navigate these challenges will find themselves in a prime position to harness this exciting emerging market. They will be able to make a positive impact on urban areas, helping cities to become more sustainable, while creating excellent revenue.
To recap, the most significant challenges and opportunities surrounding the micromobility sector are:
Despite the challenges associated with launching micromobility services, the industry has experienced significant and rapid growth, driven by demand. Most experts project that the micromobility market will continue to experience this growth. While these projections take many factors into account, the positive market outlook is based on two key factors:
Certain technologies within the micromobility sector are expected to experience the most sustained growth. Specifically, IoT devices, asset management platforms, and green technologies such as solar charging for infrastructure, will all be in high demand as cities continue to adopt micromobility solutions.
In the coming years, you can expect to see micromobility services springing up in major cities across the globe. Municipalities — and the residents they serve — want to address transportation pain points with sustainable transport devices. Micromobility devices, such as eScooters, provide them with the ideal solution.
If you would like to learn more about technologies that are supporting this emerging transportation trend, check out our technology and thought leadership blog. Digi is a pioneer in the wireless communication space. We are committed to helping developers, municipalities and enterprises to carry out their vision by connecting them with the technologies and resources needed to get the job done. Want to connect with an expert? Contact us!