Tag Archives: shared mobility

My E-scooter Rental Experiment

By Scott C. Bauman, CAPP

Last fall, I took my family into Denver for a special excursion–to rent electric scooters for the very first time and explore our vibrant downtown. The experience was quite informative. We rode all around the central business district, stopped for some famous local ice cream, spent time watching kayakers, and experienced the shared-mobility e-scooter craze to its fullest.

This wasn’t a spur-of-the-moment family adventure. It was a strategic, work-related field trip to gather facts. I intended to road-test and witness firsthand the various interactions, challenges, and benefits of shared mobility e-scooters. With the word “mobility” in my work title, I needed to experience this emerging mode personally.

We deliberately rode on different roadways: sidewalks, exposed bike lanes, protected bike lanes, trails, open streets, shared sharrow streets, and a pedestrian-only mall that prohibits e-scooters (to see what would happen; nothing happened). I wanted to witness and feel for myself how they operated, how the smartphone app interacted with users, and of course, my direct interactions with motor vehicles, parked vehicles, pedestrians, sidewalk obstacles, and other modes of transportation.

My field experience yielded a wealth of valuable information–so much so that I can say without hesitation that I strongly recommend every parking, mobility, and transportation professional considering these types of shared operations should do exactly what I did and gather the field facts firsthand. Relying solely on news articles and press reports does not give you the comprehensive picture needed to make informed decisions. The hands-on information gathered allowed me to intelligently update my city’s shared mobility policies with factual experience. It also allowed me to educate and articulate my experiences to executive staff and council members. That insight was priceless!

If you are considering shared e-scooter operations and have not already rented a scooter for yourself, I encourage and challenge you to do a similar field experiment. The real-world experiences and takeaways (positive and negative) will absolutely shape and broaden your knowledge, and you’ll probably have a bit of fun getting them.

Scott C. Bauman, CAPP, is manager of parking and mobility services for the City of Aurora, Colo.

D.C. Launches Shared Mopeds

Bikes, scooters, and now a new entry into the shared micro-mobility space: The shared moped has arrived. Washington, D.C. will welcome up to 400 mopeds this weekend into its growing micro-mobility system.

The battery-powered vehicles will each come with two helmets, hold two riders, and travel at speeds up to 30 mph. Users will register with the system and hitch their rides, so to speak, with an app; operators must be 21 years old, have valid driver licenses, and pass a background check, but do not need motorcycle licenses. The company will offer free daily lessons and the vehicles must operate only in roads but can park on sidewalks outside the downtown area. The operation will employ about 30 people.

Read the whole story here.

Mobility and Societal Considerations: What’s Happening?

More people than ever are enjoying the convenience of shared-mobility services: transportation network companies (TNCs–Uber, Lyft, etc.), bike-share, scooter-share, and other easy ways to get around. Eric Haggett, senior associate with DESMAN and a member of IPMI’s Planning, Design, & Construction Committee, found himself pondering this recently and wondered if there isn’t more to it all than meets the eye:

  • While there are real and potential benefits to society of increasing mobility options, how do we ensure these benefits are available to everyone?
  • Do we care if these options are not available to some groups?
  • If the trend in society is toward mobility-as-a-service, what happens to the segment of society that can’t afford those services or are not physically capable of using them? Will this be yet another way in which the “haves” separate themselves from the “have nots”?

In this month’s The Parking Professional, Haggett breaks down these concerns along with others. How will underbanked or unbanked people use these systems? What about disabled people? And what is our industry’s responsibility, especially while mobility is young?

It’s a great, thought-provoking read: check it out here. And then share your thoughts on Forum: Are these challenges ones our industry should address? And how?

E-trikes Enter Shared Mobility Picture

Bike- and scooter-share got a third friend last week, when Gotcha debuted an electric trike at the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. The trike can seat two riders, hit a top speed of about 25 miles per hour, and go 40 miles on a charge, and features running lights, brake lights, turn signals, and a horn. Its developer says it’s a natural entry into the field of shared micro-mobility, especially for people who aren’t comfortable on a bike or scooter.

Gotcha already has e-bike and e-scooter contracts with 65 campuses and U.S. cities, and says its trike is another good way to get more people out of single-occupancy, gas-powered vehicles. Like its bikes and scooters, the trikes will work via an app, with a per-ride fee for users. This summer, the company plans to introduce a $79 per month subscription that would offer members use of all its vehicles. It plans to get its trikes on the road this spring.

Read the whole story here, and watch a video of the Gotcha trike in action here.

Disruption! Mobility! What’s a Parking Professional to Expect?

By Trevyr Meade, LEED GA

18-09 Disruption Mobility IPMI’s Parking Research Committee convened experts and professionals and invited them to weigh in on what to expect in transportation, shared mobility, and effecting positive change.

WE HEAR A LOT ABOUT MOBILITY—the ability to get from place to place—especially in cities. But what do trends in transit, shared rides and vehicles, and alternate modes of transportation mean for parking organizations? IPI’s Parking Research Committee asked some of the industry’s top experts for their opinions.
During the next 10 years what will be the biggest driver of change in our transportation systems?

Gary Lawrence: I think there will be three major drivers of change in our mobility and access systems. First will be the deg­radation of existing infrastructure with insufficient funding to replace it while also embedding needed communications ar­chitecture. The second will be a shift from fossil to alternative fuels. And there will be increases in urban congestion in surface transportation system, requiring multidi­mensional thinking.
Chris Atkins: The biggest drivers will be the rise of the sharing economy, its effects on driving, as well as the rise of autonomous and electrically powered ve­hicles. Also, from a technology perspective, the continued rise of digital transforma­tion using data to design new models of citizen mobility.

Robert Ferrin: Mobility behavior enabled by innovation will be the biggest driver in our transportation system. Con­ventional norms on how we access place are rapidly changing, spurred by shared-­mobility providers and instant informa­tion at your fingertips. Owning a car is no longer a necessity in locations where good public transit is coupled with robust car- and bike-share, dynamic shuttle systems, and other shared-mobility providers. As mobility behavior continues to change, it is important we create forward-thinking policies and programs to encourage the efficient movement of people and goods to support the growth of our communities.

Diana Alarcon: For South Florida, it will be the development of a regional mass transportation system. Our current mode of transportation in South Florida is a car. The three regional counties are currently working with the local transit agency on developing a mass transportation system of moving folks through all three counties. As these transitions occur, it will be the local cities’ challenge of that first/last mile trav­el. That is using all modes: walkability, bi­cycle, ride-sharing, car, car-sharing, trolley, bus and modern street car. And the biggest challenge will be: How do we make it work with the limited right-of-way available and curb to manage the traffic flow?

Joachim Hauser: The biggest driver for change will be digitalization indeed. There is no other technology around the block that will have more influence. ­Decision-making by each driver and indi­vidual will be accomplished by city-wide fleet management and in-car traffic man­agement, observing singular movements of cars, and managing traffic in a wider city-appropriate manner.

What should parking and transportation professionals know about shared mobility? What effects will shared mobility have on parking?

David Stein: The effects of shared mo­bility are real, but at the same time, there is still a great unknown in what the end results will be regarding parking. Adoption rates, investment in new technologies, and varying approaches to these emerging concepts mean there is no one-size-fits-all model and each municipality, region, or country will have already experienced different impacts to date. However, I think there is some consensus that as shared mobility begins to rise, the demand for parking will decrease and the way we think about parking will change. Accordingly, we should be proactive and resolute in our ap­proaches and response to the emerging and evolving system.

Robert Ferrin: In our urban cen­ters, shared-mobility providers are offering a new way to get from point A to point B that does not include taking traditional transportation options such as public transit or a single-occupancy vehicle. These pro­viders are having profound effects on our industry. For off-street providers, shared mobility is, in some cases, driving down parking demand and forcing operators to think differently about how they allocate spaces and permits to users. For on-street pro­viders and regulators, shared-mobili­ty providers are changing the way we allocate curb lane space beyond the traditional uses such as taxis, limos, and metered parking spaces. Flexible use of curb lane space is important to maximize limited parking and loading areas.

Joachim Hauser: We know from scientific studies that each car-­sharing car is able to substitute for up to seven individual cars. This figure might not be scalable to the entire car park, but there is a clear option to reduce the number of cars in a city. Most of these eliminated cars might have their parking at roadside, and they are seldom used. So this might not affect off-street parking at all. Furthermore, cities might use the chance to reduce on-street parking capacities to the advantage of park­ing operators. Also, mobility as such does not seem to be close to its saturation yet, which means more options for rides probably will lead to more rides but not to more cars. New opportunities are given by usage of strategically inter­esting parking locations as mobility hubs.

What current trends are you seeing related to mobility that are disrupting traditional transportation trends?

David Stein: The growth in the ride-hail industry is probably the most prevalent and identifiable trend that’s disrupting tradi­tional transportation throughout the world. First and foremost, the concept and functionality of a taxi has been transformed, and in many places, the ride-hail industry has outpaced and outnum­bers the traditional taxi market. It has also changed the way we think about moving from space to space and mobility in general. While car-share has changed our perception of mobility and is viewed as a mechanism to reduce car ownership and use, the pure func­tionality, cost, and convenience offered by ride-hail vehicles is changing the transportation landscape. For example, a recent article in Crain’s New York Business cites the rise of Uber and Lyft as both a major contributor to conges­tion while at the same time, discour­aging people from driving into the city. Operationally, parking operators are seeing less volume and demand in their facilities, creating what the author calls a “one-two punch” to our transportation system and skewing transportation trends like ­never before.

Diana Alacorn: Ride-sharing is a game changer in how people move in two ways: It allows someone the flexibil­ity of moving without the responsibility of a car, but at the same time, the num­ber of ride-share vehicles on the road­way is creating more traffic congestion. In time, the market will work through the number of ride-share vehicles that are on the road, but the demand for parking spaces will decrease as less peo­ple bring their own cars. Ultimately it may be a wash because reduced parking demand will open up curb space, which can accommodate ride-share queuing to reduce the traffic congestion on city surface streets.

Gary Lawrence: Declines in the quality of infrastructure—roads, rail, bridges—and associated infrastructure such as parking structures are compounding in­creases in vehicle trips and associated congestion. In addition, online shopping is putting more delivery vehicles on the streets, particularly in dense urban centers. Demand increases coupled with a reduced delivery speed and reduced reliability are causing frustration in many communities.

How do you see the design of parking structures evolving in response to these changes?

Robert Ferrin: Parking garages will need to adapt to new trans­portation innovations and be more than buildings that house vehicles. Older garages will need to be retrofitted to accommodate connected vehicles or lose their competitive advantage to newer facilities. Revenue-control equipment will need to be flexible to allow for in-vehicle payment and access and share real-time parking availability in an efficient manner. New garages should be designed to accommodate non-parking uses such as housing or office space, as the latest urban infill projects in Columbus, Ohio, are being designed.

Chris Atkins: Large-scale deployment of the internet of things (IOT) and communications infrastructure will generate lots of data. The data will be used to design mobility solutions, including parking, to take advantage of the ability to sense, moni­tor, and respond in real time. New pricing techniques and unified payment systems will also be designed using this data.

David Stein: With parking operators experiencing less de­mand, cities are seeing a golden opportunity for redevelopment through the adaptive reuse and/or redevelopment of their park­ing assets, both surface and garages. With many cities seeing their assets reaching the end of their useful life and limited op­portunities for growth, as well as people moving back into cities from the suburbs, there is little point to continued investment in such properties. Cities across the U.S. are seeing these prop­erties transformed into mixed-use development, rich in transit accessibility, and reinvigorating what were once desolate blocks.

How can the parking industry partner with mobility providers and managers to positively effect change?

Diana Alacorn: Parking operators from all branches of the busi­ness need to look and recreate the experience for the first and last mile. We work to meet federal, state, and local laws, but we forget to provide the patron an amazing experience. What is that experience? How can we all make it better? What is the customer service that you want to deliver and have your customer experi­ence? What do we need to do to make that experience the best! Working on the first and last mile will be the most important linkage between the parking and mobility industries.

Chris Atkins: Embrace the sharing economy, develop part­nerships to enhance the “smartness” of your infrastructure, and view yourself as a critical part of citizen mobility.
Gary Lawrence: I think the parking industry will need to move from being peripheral to mobility problem-solving to a more centralized role bringing together all modes and potential uses for storage and distribution.

Robert Ferrin: Municipal parking leaders should be creat­ing forward-thinking regulations to celebrate and grow these new mobility options for our customers. Setting the stage in the public realm for these transportation options to prosper will lead to additional mobility opportunities for all citizens in our com­munities. Taking chances with pilot or demonstration projects can test a concept and lead to increased acceptance of mobility options, such as car-share, ride-share, dynamic shuttle systems, and bike-sharing systems.

The effects of shared mobility are real but at the same time, there is still a great unknown in what the end results will be regarding parking.

Read the article here.

TREVYR MEADE, LEED GA, is certification program lead with the U.S. Green Building Council and a member of IPI’s Parking Research Committee. He can be reached at tmeade@gbci.org.


Our Experts

DIANE ALARCON is transportation and mobility department director for the City of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

CHRIS ATKINS is vice president for digital government transformation at SAP Public Sector.

ROBERT FERRIN is assistant director for parking services with the City of Columbus (Ohio) Department of Public Service.

JOACHIM HAUSER is head of project, automated driving on business ground, with the BMW Group.

GARY LAWRENCE is chief planning and resilience strategist/principal with Enviro Dynamix.

DAVID STEIN is director, parking planning and policy, with the New York City Department of Transportation.


The Sharing Economy and Mobility on Demand

By L. Dennis Burns, CAPP

I recently rediscovered a 2016 document published by the Federal Highway Administration: Shared Mobility – Current Practices and Guiding Principles.

In the past few years, the sharing economy has emerged as a developing phenomenon that is reshaping many economic sectors including financial, goods, food, services, and transportation. Based on sharing, renting, and borrowing goods and services rather than owning them, the sharing economy is influencing technological, mobility, and social trends by changing the way people travel and consume resources. This document links the concepts and impacts of the sharing economy to an emerging transportation concept referred to as mobility on demand (MOD).

Mobility on demand is an innovative transportation concept where consumers can access mobility, goods, and services on demand by dispatching or using shared mobility, courier services, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and public transportation solutions. The most advanced forms of MOD passenger services incorporate trip planning and booking, real-time information, and fare payment into a single user interface (sometimes referred to as the connected traveler. Passenger modes facilitated through MOD providers include car-sharing, bike-sharing, ride-sharing, ride-sourcing/transportation network companies (TNCs), scooter-sharing, microtransit, shuttle services, public transportation, courier network services (CNS) and delivery services, and other emerging transportation solutions.

Interested in learning more? Download the report here.

L. Dennis Burns, CAPP, is regional vice president with Kimley-Horn.