n an effort to understand emerging best practices in the micromobility field, this survey report reviewed scooter and bikeshare policies in 17 cities, including Atlanta. Four key practice areas emerged from the research: enforcement, fees, caps, and data sharing.
When considering the need for enforcement, three key focus areas emerged across most cities: vehicle parking, service areas, and the maintenance of those vehicles to ensure rider safety. The cities that were best set up for success set unambiguous guidelines for device parking with clear consequences for vendors if they fail to enforce them. Examples include cities who build digital enforcement infrastructure, such as the ability to geofence equity areas to enforce distribution requirements, or cities that can easily pull reports on device state-of-repair.
Micromobility providers’ storefront is the public right-of-way, requiring additional city resources to be put toward managing that shared space. Fees allow cities to mitigate the financial impact of, and in some cases, capture revenue to invest in better infrastructure for safe operation. The review illuminated inconsistency in the total estimated amount of potential fee revenue, suggesting an inconsistent approach to fee amount and administration. Some cities may be underestimating the resources necessary for proper management and delivery of safe infrastructure for operations.
Caps, or an upper limit on the number of vendors and/or devices, was common across the 17 cities studied. Of cities who established fleet caps, some also provided a clear path to increased fleet size by establishing utilization thresholds as a guide to balance supply and demand, and performance measures to encourage outstanding service for their communities. There was no correlation between fleet cap size and city size. Only three cities chose to allow the supply of devices to reach the point of less than 100 persons per vehicle deployed. Two cities restricted supply to the extent of thousands of people per vehicle deployed.
The 17 cities reviewed for this study show an increasing awareness for laying the digital infrastructure necessary to actively manage emerging mobility. New specifications, such as the General Bikeshare Feed Specification (GBFS) and Mobility Data Specification (MDS), have emerged, helping cities request standardized data. Additionally, cities are starting to request real-time data versus a static report format, allowing them more freedom to pull data as frequently as needed. By placing our findings on the axis below, we see that the majority of cities are starting to make real-time data requests. A small few are leading the way by requesting their regular reports be provided in a data standard.
- When writing enforcement language, set clear, unambiguous rules around vehicle parking, service areas and vehicle maintenance.
- When setting fees for micromobility, consider establishing modest per-trip fees to pay for program management, enforcement and broader mobility goals such as safer streets, equity and designated parking. Fees to promote safer streets and better parking can help ensure the program is more successful.
- When establishing a cap, implement a utilization threshold to better balance supply with demand rather than accidentally stifling the growth of a program. Additionally, tie performance to opportunity to expand to encourage delivery on other key program goals.
- Establish digital infrastructure that allows for effective management and oversight of your program, as well as future planning efforts, such as building bike lanes or placing street furniture to improve program success.