Transportation for America Releases Shared Micromobility Playbook

January 25, 2019

Credit: Transportation for America

Tapping the combined expertise of officials from 23 cities who participated in its Smart Cities Collaborative, Transportation for America, a highly-regarded national alliance, has released a Shared Micromobility Playbook. The goal: to help cities better understand the variety of policy levers at their disposal and explore the core components of a comprehensive shared micromobility policy for local governments as they consider how best to manage these services.

On Monday, January 23, at 3:00 pm EST, Transportation for America will host an online session explaining how to use the Playbook, and how members of the Smart Cities Collaborative helped to shape its content.

Playbook Priorities

Transportation for America is an alliance of elected, business and civic leaders from communities across the country, united to ensure that states and the federal government step up to invest in smart, homegrown, locally-driven transportation solutions.

Its newly-released Shared Micromobility Playbook is a result of work by Transportation for America, the participant cities in T4America’s year-long Smart Cities Collaborative as well as industry stakeholders including Lime. During a two-day meeting, held in Pittsburgh, in September 2018, participants from these cities identified key policy components, discussed the opportunities and impacts of various policy choices and shared their personal experiences with managing these services in their communities. The playbook is a result of that collaboration, additional conversations with cities across the country working on regulations, input from Lime, and research conducted by T4America. The Playbook also builds on the effort by the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) and their member cities to develop their Guidelines for the Regulation and Management of Shared Active Transportation.

Eight policy sections into which the Playbook is divided include: General Provisions’ Operations, Equipment & Safety; Parking & Street Design; Equity; Data; Metrics; and Communications & Community Engagement.

Each section identifies key policy areas to reflect on, highlights the various options in each policy area, reviews the pros and cons of each level of action, and provides case studies of cities that have enacted certain policies. Sections also include suggested national standards across cities, areas for cities to make local choices, and key considerations when deliberating policy options along with recommendations.

Micromobility on the Move, Cities in the Spotlight

Over just the past few years, shared micromobility services (scooters, bikes and others) have exploded in cities across the country, transforming the mobility landscape and challenging the ability of cities to manage them, reports the Playbook’s authors.

“Since the initial introduction of dockless bikesharing systems in Seattle in the summer of 2017, dozens of companies have rapidly launched their services in hundreds of cities, served thousands of users and completed millions of rides—in just a little over a year,” noted a January 15 news release outlining the Playbook.

“The rapid emergence of these new micromobility services has created new clean and convenient options for people to get around, and they certainly offer a wealth of potential benefits. But there’s still so much to learn,” said Russ Brooks, T4America’s Director of Smart Cities.

“They can help advance city goals related to equity, access to jobs and services, climate, and more. But in order to achieve these goals, cities have a major role to play in thoughtfully managing them to ensure that the benefits accrue equitably to everyone. This Playbook is intended to be an extension of T4America’s Smart Cities Collaborative and serve as the start of an ongoing conversation where cities can share their experiences and identify best practices as the results of the first pilot programs across the country come in.”

No cities were even considering the prospect of shared electric scooters two years ago, and now in 2019, hundreds of them are. This incredibly rapid pace of change is unlikely to slow anytime soon, and it highlights the need to create flexible regulatory frameworks that will help cities integrate new technologies and contribute toward their preferred long-term outcomes.

T4America will continue to refine and expand the Playbook as we learn more about the ongoing results of the efforts to manage these services and ultimately the impact that shared micromobility is having in our communities, reported the organization.

About Transportation for America

Transportation for America is, as noted, an alliance of elected, business and civic leaders from communities across the country, united to ensure that states and the federal government step up to invest in smart, homegrown, locally-driven transportation solutions. These are the investments that hold the key to our future economic prosperity.

The group’s website provides the following overview of its mission and priorities: “America must invest and innovate to strengthen our economy, our communities. Strong local economies are the foundation of a strong national economy. Across the country, business, civic and elected leaders understand that a strong transportation network drives the success of our local economies. They know local employers need to be able to recruit and retain workers both within and from outside their home communities, and they need efficient ways to get their goods to market. Workers of all incomes need affordable, dependable access to jobs. And our cities, suburbs and towns must be able to attract talent and compete on a global scale.”

The organization further states, “In communities across the country, local leaders are responding to new economic challenges with innovative plans for their transportation networks. But alone, they lack the resources, and the control over them, to build and maintain the infrastructure their economies demand. At the same time, transportation funding at all levels of government is shrinking rather than growing, due to slackening gas tax receipts and budget cuts. This situation threatens America’s ability to compete economically. Transportation for America is bringing people together to change it, in Congress and state houses across the nation.”


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