Micromobility and Mapping

February 22, 2022


Maps along with the mobility as a service will become micromobility's version of a web browser. These services are where transport, especially around urban environments will be conducted, engaged with and called upon.

As Harace Dediu, the technologist recently said in a podcast;

"Why maps? Because whenever you begin a journey, the first thing you do is you either summon a vehicle, if you do use a car sharing service, or even if you drive yourself, you’re going to go to maps first, and you’re going to find the best way to get there. So whether you are using your own vehicle, whether you are using the shared service, or whether you’re going to hire some other solution to get you to A to B, everybody begins with maps".

Currently, mapping features on the micromobility providers in apps are mostly static. They show you where their ebikes or escooters are placed geographically in the city or town. It is up to you to find them. While once you successfully unlock the micormobility vehicle then the app simply tells you the time on the service and battery. Plus the usual drop down menus of settings and invoices.

This is clearly a challenge if you are needing to swap onto a mapping or MaaS app on your phone. Something a lot of riders, especially this author has to do quite a lot of the time. This can be challenging especially increasing the vulnerability of the rider if they have to fiddle with the apps to fire up the map apps.

While Google maps has begun to offer micromobility solutions to journeys in the same way as it offers taxis and other forms of transport when the user are in the google map app. They have not provided a location, battery charge and type of vehicle in google maps here in the UK.

Micromobility maps

The Future:

We predict that soon you will be able to use the micromobility booking apps as a form of map function for the ride in the not too distant future. Essentially the micromobility provider apps becoming the MaaS app of choice.

Keeping the user in the micromobility mapping app rather than the original MaaS app. As Harace Dediu says, these will become the internet browsers of journeys.

__What we currently have now:

Over the past 12 months various providers have begun to offer intergration into Maas apps.

For example, Voi and tier began to integrate in Europe with Google Maps. Offering the option of selecting an electric scooter or an e-bike as the desired means of transport in the available cities. Giving an overview of the nearest available e-bike or e-scooter but also how long it will take to walk to the vehicle, as well as the estimated battery range and expected arrival time.

Users then leave the app to then be directed to the relevant micromobility provider’s app to pay for the vehicle, unlock it and make their journey.

Others: Dott, the micromobility provider who has just announced a foray into this offering. With its integration of locations of their micromobility offerings onto mobility apps (MaaS) in Brussels.

The partnership launches in two apps for the city: MOVEBXL, a public-based MaaS in Brussels, and Arval Mobility, a corporate MaaS solution built with Arval BNP Paribas group.

Here in the UK expect to see a lot more of this sort of integration over the 2022. As currently there is very little data available.

Here is Tier's micromobility integration live onto a Swiss Mobility as a service app: Micromobility maps Tier

What does this map integration look like:

It is very much the mobility MaaS app that takes the lead. With users of the MaaS apps can see real time information of Dott’s e-scooters.

Showing location and battery status before being redirected to Dott’s own app for booking.