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Micro-Mobility in the context of the New Urban Mobility Framework

Micro-Mobility for Europe (MMfE) welcomes the European Commission’s December 2021 Communication setting out a New Urban Mobility Framework. 

We applaud the European Commission’s intention to boost the integration of public transport with other modes, such as via Mobility-as-a-Service. Furthermore, we strongly support the ambition of contributing to EU Green House Gas reduction targets while improving mobility in cities. 

While we appreciate the European Commission’s call for a “renewed focus” on micro-mobility, we regret that the Commission has not acknowledged the full potential of e-scooters and e-bikes. Beyond the health and safety points mentioned in the Framework, micro-mobility services offer accessible, affordable, and sustainable mobility solutions that are available on-demand. At the same time, increased use of micro-mobility allows for rethinking urban space as these vehicles require less space than passenger cars. Therefore, we call on the European Commission to: 

  • further promote shared micro-mobility as a credible means to cut CO2 emissions 
  • encourage municipalities and regions to invest in proper infrastructures for cycling and micro-mobility
  • work towards a harmonised approach to safety data gathering across cities, regions, and EU Member States 
  • consult during the entire process with micro-mobility operators in the adoption of new rules for micro-mobility devices 

 

Micro-mobility increases the resilience of public transport systems

While public transport systems are the backbone of urban mobility systems, micro-mobility services improve accessibility for the first and last mile, enabling citizens to reach or travel from destinations that are underserved by public transport. Micro-mobility services can adapt to changes in urban mobility demands swiftly and can contribute to relieving pressure on urban mobility systems at peak times.

The lifespan of micro-mobility devices has significantly increased in the past few years, and surveys show that users increasingly substitute the use of private cars for trips by micro-mobility devices (see here). People are frequently substituting micro-mobility vehicles for private use for various reasons, such as because destinations may be more challenging to reach by other means of transport (see here). E-scooters thus contribute, at least in part, to improving public transport on previously less optimally covered connections.

 

Rethinking urban space

In many EU cities, citizens are suffering from congested roads, pollution, and noise caused by traffic. As cars are getting bigger (see here), cities risk sacrificing more and more space for roads and passenger cars, which comes at the cost of the quality of life and safety of urban dwellers. A modal shift to public transport, paired with micro-mobility solutions, would reduce individuals’ dependency on cars, allowing cities to rethink urban space for the benefit of their citizens. At the same time, cities should dedicate more space to ensure that bicycles and e-scooter users do not feel at risk. When transforming cities, each step counts, such as building new infrastructure or creating pedestrian zones. 

 

Energy independence

Private cars require a significant investment, paired with high maintenance costs, particularly in times when citizens are confronted with record costs for energy and fuels.

Taking a closer look at the efficiency of cars, only 12% – 30% of the energy from the fuel is used to move the car. Of that 12-30%, 94% is used to move the 1,400 kg car, and only 6% is used to move the 80kg driver. In a private car, only 0.7% – 1.8% of the energy is used to move the person. This is an exceedingly wasteful use of energy, with dire consequences for health, quality of life, and the environment. Micro-mobility can play a role in increasing energy efficiency and tackling energy poverty – in fact, micro-mobility offers a means of transport available to everyone and at much lower prices than cars. 

Micro-mobility services offer affordable and transparent pricing models that do not fluctuate as prices at gas stations do. 

 

Horizontal legislation for Personal Light Electric Vehicles 

MMfE supports harmonised technical rules on EU level, to avoid fragmentation on national or regional level. Involvement of micro-mobility providers in the process of drawing up such rules will be crucial to ensure planning and investment security, and to maximise societal benefits. 

 

Conclusion

The European Commission’s New Urban Mobility Framework is a step in the right direction. Still, more attention needs to be placed on micro-mobility to ensure the transition towards zero-emission transport in the EU. Furthermore, more emphasis should be placed on how micro-mobility can transform urban mobility by offering accessible and affordable mobility solutions that are available on-demand. MMfE is ready to engage with all stakeholders on the road to clean and digital urban mobility. 

 

About us 

Micro-Mobility for Europe is a coalition of shared micro-mobility providers such as short-term rental of electric scooters and bicycles. Our members want to ultimately transform urban mobility by creating a sustainable transport ecosystem together with the cities in which they operate.

We believe that micro-mobility solutions are essential alternatives to car ownership and use and we place people and the environment at the heart of mobility.

MMfE defends the interests of the micro-mobility industry with the goal of guiding Europe towards a global leadership position in the adoption of sustainable urban transport.

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