The transformative power of micromobility
April 18, 2022Cities
A version of this blog entry first appeared at the Conservative Environment Network blog.
The transformative power of micromobility for the environment
The average car journey in the UK is around 8 miles. This is bad for the environment, for our health. We now have a huge opportunity to drive profound change. The rise of micromobility gives us a chance to completely change our streets, our towns and lives.
The cost of car ownership is both financially expensive and detrimental to the environment. Yet has perceived convenience to the user.
While parking in the urban environments takes as much as third of all real estate. Further driving the demand for car use.
How micromobility provides an alternative solution for the majority of car use and its impact?
Micromobility is defined primarily as personal mobility whose utility is to move its user. Its purpose is to offer maximum freedom of mobility through the miniaturisation of the vehicle.
The new wave of lightweight micromobility vehicle technology includes brushless electric motors that have enabled and revolutionised ebikes, ecargo bikes and escooters.
This profound piece of transport technology coupled with the mobile phone network transcends the very nature of mobility in the urban environment.
With research from Mellon University stating the average length of a micromobility journey in the urban environment is around 3 miles. Replacing the majority of single occupant car use and reducing the need of fuel and parking.
So what is the UK doing to play its part in promoting micromobility and what more could it be doing?
The 1988 transport act defines what a car is. What is taxed, insured and legally allowed on the road. The definition of regulated vehicles starts at 250 KW/h and anything over top speed of 15.5mph. While anything below these which isn’t pedal assist is also defined a taxable vehicle.
Anything else over or different to this would have to undergo an MOT. Which most new ebikes and escooters fail. Escooters fail even without going over the top speed as they are not pedal assist.
As Baroness Vere recently said in a House of Lords debate, in 2023 the Department of Transport will set to legislate for micromobility. Setting out a new class of vehicle, including what is likely be called a 'Personal Transporter'.
All new cars sold by 2030 will be required to be electric, incurring a probative expense for each individual. Micromobility provides the valuable missing link to not owning a car and still having the benefits that car ownership brings.
The new 2023 legislation must be brave and go as far as possible to liberalise the laws around these low powered vehicles.
We have the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of our car building heritage by driving cutting edge technology in the development of micromobility. Including the development of standards, safety and robustness.
Europe is leading the way, with Paris recently announcing it would become a 15 minute city with the power of micromobility.
UK towns and cities will have a chance to radically improve their centres, improving transport solutions beyond the car, hit emission goals and go a significant way to replacing cars with something radically better.
Edward Webster Micromobility news https://www.micromobilitynews.co.uk/