By Sandra Phillips, Founder & CEO of Movmi
Everyone is publishing their trend analysis for new and shared mobility mobility at the moment. And since everyone else covers the big four: autonomous driving, electrification, mobility-as-a-service and micromobility, I will focus on patterns of changes and transformations that involve different sociocultural and economic aspects. Over the next two weeks, I’ll share 7 trends that I believe will shape shared mobility in 2022.
Trend 1 – Safety of All Road Users
If I had to sum up micromobility news from 2021 in one key phrase, this would be it: the safety of all road users. From de-cluttering sidewalks, to creating slow and no-go zones, to safety events that teach new e-scooter riders how to use it, the focus is on making sure everyone – other pedestrians or cyclists, people with strollers, wheelchairs, or visual impairments – is safe on the current infrastructure that is now also used by e-scooters.
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Some of the methods to improve safety are rather crude, e.g Bird’s bright, reflective lettering “Please help me up” on the bottom of all scooters to ensure the community deals with tipped over scooters. There are also creative ways to support riders during a trip, e.g Neuron’s emergency button that detects any accident or Link’s handlebars that uses different lights to guide riders. I’m still scratching my head at the effectiveness of the cognitive tests introduced by several providers to figure out if someone is riding under the influence. But it’s a start and at least with shared scooters, this type of control is an option. Try implementing any safety features for personal scooter owners!
And then there is the one technology that we’ll surely see refined this year « geofencing ». Quick reminder: Geofencing uses GPS, RFID, Wi-Fi or cellular data to trigger a pre-programmed action when a scooter (or other vehicle) enters or exits a virtual boundary set up around a geographical location. Geofencing has been used in free-floating carshare before micromobility existed. We used it to create blackout zones (eg parks or graveyards) where vehicles should never be parked, or parking zones where we wanted to track the number of vehicles parked. So the tech has been around for a while.
What’s new? It is increasingly used not only for parking but for different ride zones where scooters slow down or stop altogether. Bird for instance has launched a feature called Community Safety Zones where scooters are automatically slowed down in high-pedestrian areas, around hospitals or schools. Additionally, geofence rules are increasingly stored on the scooter itself to reduce the lag time between sending GPS location to a cloud and the activation of the geofence rule (see Neuron or Link).
But there is definitely room for improvement. For one, I would like to see more attention towards implementation details: it makes no sense that wheels lock in no-ride zones (essentially meaning the scooters are impossible to be moved out of the zone) or to transition from a low speed zone into a regular one at full speed. In addition, and as anyone who has worked with geofencing tech knows, geofencing is not as simple as it sounds: especially in dense urban cities where the GPS signal bounces off office towers. So in 2022, we’ll see more sophisticated technology to keep everyone safe where geofencing is just one component. Increasingly that will be combined with real-time detection of rider misbehaviour and a direct feedback loop to the riders where their driving behaviour is rated.
Read the original article here.