Our in-person minglers are back! We hosted our first event (since the pandemic) two weeks ago at Steamworks Brewery in Vancouver and had a fantastic turnout. It was an invite-only event housed under Chatham House Rules. We were joined by an expert panel, and the topic under discussion for the evening was Micromobility Integrations.
Over the last few years we have seen new forms of sustainable transportation enter the market, including smaller vehicles such as e-bikes and e-scooters, that are helping us reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Now, it’s important for us to think about how to integrate these new options into our overall transportation ecosystem.
Keep reading for a brief overview of the Micromobility Integrations panel discussion. Check out the notes from our last mingler back in 2019 on Shared Electric Vehicles here.
Micromobility Integrations: movmi’s Mobility Mingler
What are the benefits of micromobility integratations, specifically with public transit?
We have to integrate our transportation solutions because we need to get people out of their privately owned cars and driving is just too convenient right now. By providing cost-effective integrated services, we can reduce the barriers and friction of widespread modal shift. Integration will give users options on how they commute depending on time, comfort, convenience, carbon footprint goals etc.
Micromobility offers transportation solutions for residents, especially in smaller satellite towns and cities and can really help solve those first and last mile problems. What would be really beneficial for this region would be if all SkyTrain stations had shared mobility options easily accessible, essentially creating mobility hubs with first and last mile infrastructure. In order for this to flourish, we would need to have protected bike lanes that are wide enough to accommodate fast moving e-bikes, cargo bikes, scooters etc.
There is also huge potential at the moment for developments to take a bigger role in preparing for micromobility integrations. There are opportunities that lie within that real estate for creating mobility hubs and connecting transportation options for residents. Developments can provide space, maintenance opportunities, management opportunities, infrastructure and a user group through policy incentives. Therefore, the policy we create today needs to be looking at the future transportation options, five to ten years down the line and this is a big challenge we are facing right now.
What stakeholders do we need at the table to make integration happen? How do we effectively collaborate?
It’s starts with government. The city controls our public transit system which is the backbone of our transportation ecosystem, so it makes sense for them to take the lead on integrations. We need the city on board because they need to provide the physical space for mobility hubs and then we can bring in the other stakeholders i.e. the shared mobility providers.
It’s also important that the city is on board so that that we can also leverage the public subsidy that comes with creating these hubs or station-based micromobility services. Without it, micromobility options can be quite expensive to use and therefore not accessible to everyone.
In order to encourage trust between cities, providers and developers there needs to be a policy scaffold that encourages creativity and a willingness to try new things and to fail as well. New systems take time to build and to become successful, and this will come with trials and errors along the way.
What is the business model for making user experience easier within the new MaaS system?
We are working on it, at the speed of government unfortunately. There are opportunities and challenges with the Shared Mobility Compass Card at the moment but just seeing how the original Compass Card has had widespread adoption throughout the city, it gives us hope that it will happen. We just need a little patience in the meantime.
Sophisticated developers are understanding that there is a value to providing exceptional facilities and offering numerous modes of transport to people by integrating those well into their projects. This is something that we were seeing less of five or six years ago. From a business perspective that transition is happening. Maybe not as fast as we would like but it is happening.
How can we make micromobility more accessible and affordable?
This conversation needs to happen with the province. The province figured out how to make transit trips free for youths. It’s not free but it is subsidized so the province could create some kind of investment that could help cities to in turn work with providers, to have these services at a lower cost for the user. Currently we have a funding gap when it comes to active transportation and so we need to put a bit more pressure on the provincial government to correct this.
For micromobility providers, cities also have a role to play in making sure that providers are offering equity programs. For example Mobi offers a $20 annual pass that serves over 1600 members of our community. But also by having cash based passes that don’t require a credit card or a smartphone. Having programs like this are very important to ensure these services stay equitable.
What is a policy change you would make to allow you to make micromobility integrations happen?
More funding and more staff working in transportation planning in every municipality in the district of Vancouver. Furthermore, having a regional policy on Transportation Demand Management that is the same everywhere and not different in each municipality.