The legality of riding e-scooters—which currently can travel in excess of 15 miles per hour—on sidewalks varies from city to city, but some pedestrians, suddenly sharing space with motorized vehicles, have understandable safety concerns. Most accounts are anecdotal, and the overall prevalence of sidewalk riding and e-scooter conflicts with other users remains unclear.
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In limited public opinion polling, solid majorities have positive views of e-scooters. The result in many places is a dearth of bike lanes or even roads sufficiently wide to allow a cyclist or scooter rider to safely occupy the shoulder. Outside many urban cores, some municipalities make sidewalks optional, effectively mandating the use of personal cars in the absence of accessible transit.
The limited available data suggests that most scooter riders prefer to use bike lanes when available but will opt for the perceived safety of a sidewalk when the alternative is traveling on a high-speed street. That number jumped to 66 percent when traveling on a road with a posted speed limit of 35 miles per hour. Mobility policy expert Emily Warren notes that, more broadly, many cities and micromobility operators are struggling with how to manage the physical presence of vehicles whose intrinsic appeal stems in large part from the ability to pick up and drop them off anywhere.
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Safety, for both riders and others, has been another key concern in many cities. Media accounts are replete with stories of scooter riders being injured or injuring others. It remains unclear how dangerous e-scooters are relative to other modes of transit, how different riding behaviors helmet use, speed, etc. It is worth remembering that automobile crashes kill roughly 40, Americans and 1. Cities have pressed micromobility providers to encourage and improve safety. That includes increasing helmet availability and usage, providing education to users on safe scooter techniques, and modifying vehicle designs—with, for example, more robust chassis and larger wheels better able to manage uneven pavement.
As dockless bikes and scooters have materialized on city streets and sidewalks, policymakers have often been left blind to how, when, and where these vehicles were being deployed and used. That opacity likely contributed to the skeptical reception given some providers.
Without it, city leaders could struggle to ensure that new mobility options serve broader city goals, complement other modes, and avoid conflict with various user groups. Thankfully, progress is being made. Cities are becoming increasingly sophisticated in understanding and specifying what data they need from providers, at times making it a precondition for micromobility operators to serve their markets. Micromobility presents a tremendous opportunity for cities and service providers, potentially helping to address some of the most vexing transportation challenges facing urban areas: congestion, emissions and air quality, uneven access to transit.
Despite getting off to a sometimes-rocky start, it may behoove both city leaders and micromobility providers to work hand-in-hand to forge a way ahead that serves the public good, meets city goals, and enables the private sector to create viable business models. Beyond the immediate need to address issues with motorized bikes and e-scooters, cities should look at micromobility as an opportunity to build a more robust governance and policy framework that can accommodate whatever new mobility options may be over the horizon.
And those options are coming, to be sure: Private sector players are actively developing drone delivery, autonomous ride-hailing services, air taxis, and many more possibilities. An ad hoc, reactive approach is unsustainable and counterproductive. That growing realization has led to the formation of multiple groups—including New Urban Mobility NUMO , Shared Streets, and others comprising city governments, mobility providers, data vendors, advocates, and researchers—that aim, in various ways, to provide policy frameworks, common standards, and implementation road maps for cities looking to better understand and integrate new modes of transportation.
Cities could use the influx of micromobility as a test case for deploying a new governance framework, underpinned by an integrated digital mobility platform that can bring together all modes of travel, better match supply and demand, and drive efficiency systemwide. But trailblazing cities have a real opportunity to transcend the limits of existing infrastructure and forge a new approach to governing the future mobility ecosystem. They can also head off the kind of citizen backlash that can occur when a new mobility option is curtailed after it has built up a loyal and vocal constituency.
Collaboration that brings all stakeholders into the conversation appears to be the only way ahead. The lines of responsibility between micromobility providers, users, and governments remain nascent, and it is only through collective dialogue that the right balance can be struck. Cities need to appreciate the very real concerns of and often-challenging economics facing service providers.
They are not a piggy bank fueled by endless venture capital funding: Per-trip fees and fines, if not carefully calibrated, can significantly impact their bottom line. Likewise, service providers should respect the very real concerns of cities—those that take a cooperative, transparent approach to new and existing markets are likely to be the ones who ultimately succeed in an increasingly cutthroat micromobility industry. To facilitate collaboration, parties in the United States might lean on metropolitan planning organizations MPOs , federally mandated entities tasked with carrying out urban transportation planning.
One area ripe for cooperation is building more micromobility friendly infrastructure. While costs per mile can vary wildly, 45 academic research suggests constructing bike lanes is extremely cost-effective once the knock-on benefits of lower injury risk and more use of active modes of transportation are taken into account. Regardless of the particular tack taken, both governments and micromobility providers have important roles to play:.
Cities should consider guiding principles for regulating emerging technologies , 48 including:. Cities should embrace modal neutrality. To that end, as they ponder new rules for micromobility, one helpful litmus test for officials might be to ask themselves: Would such a rule ever be applied to cars?
Per-trip fees, automatically enforced speed governors on vehicles, caps on total fleet size, and the public space devoted to each mode are all worth considering through the lens of car usage. Providers should be proactive in addressing city concerns. Many increasingly are. This can range from providing helmets and locks to increase safety and reduce vandalism, increasing education of riders, to using technology or more punitive measures to deter undesirable behavior, such as sidewalk riding.
In almost every instance, a fundamental building block could be ensuring that city leaders have the data necessary to make informed policy. Providers should collaborate with officials to determine the appropriate technical standards, APIs, and types of data to be shared. Providers should work to ensure that their services further city goals and to demonstrate their value to the overall transportation network. This could start with early and frequent dialogue with city leaders to better understand where their transportation pain points are.
They should also be sensitive to city concerns about creating dependencies on private sector providers. As mobility investor Reilly Brennan observed, cities are rightly hesitant to anchor their transportation system around services that could be unilaterally shut down should business needs change. Getting there will likely demand relationships built on trust among all parties, while still allowing competition and new entrants.
And—also like many other emerging mobility issues—there is no single formula that players can apply equally everywhere. But by working through the thorny issues now, learning from new data, and taking to heart key lessons, everyone can be better prepared when the next mobility innovation—such as autonomous vehicles moving people and goods—comes onto the scene. The authors would like to thank the many public and private sector leaders who entertained our questions about micromobility, both on and off the record, including but not limited to: Amitai Bin-Nun , Reilly Brennan , Regina Clewlow , Toshi Shepard-Ohta , Jeff Thomashow , Troels Adrian , and Emily Warren.
This paper would not have been possible without the excellent research support of Tadeh Issakhanian , Schaffer Ochstein , Saranya Sundararajan , and Nirav Sampat. View in article. Is the world ready? Portland Bureau of Transportation, e-scooter findings report , January 15, United Nations, World urbanization prospects, revision , Mobike, How cycling changes cities , January 16, Low-income areas often have greater need because they lack good public transportation and ride-hailing services. Federal Highway Administration, National household travel survey , accessed February 21, Portland Bureau of Transportation, e-scooter findings report.
Adapted from Peter Viechnicki et al. Derek M.
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This is not short term — it takes a number of years to put these programmes in place, to measure them and to show benefits. Many employers recognise that they need to work in tandem with their public healthcare systems. That will bring the most benefit to them and their employees. Ltd and each of its affiliates are legally separate and independent entities.
More than 11, multi-cultural medical, security and logistics experts stand by to provide support and assistance from over 1, locations in 90 countries. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you protect your global workforce. If inflation and interest rates were to increase in a particular country, this would make it more difficult for consumers to purchase new Kias. If currency exchange rates were to change such that the euro became weaker relative to the South Korean won, this would make a Kia more expensive for European buyers Kia.
The history of business is full of colorful examples of cultural differences undermining companies. For example, a laundry detergent company was surprised by its poor sales in the Middle East. Executives believed that their product was being skillfully promoted using print advertisements that showed dirty clothing on the left, a box of detergent in the middle, and clean clothing on the right. A simple and effective message, right? Not exactly.
Unlike English and other Western languages, the languages used in the Middle East, such as Hebrew and Arabic, involve reading from right to left. To consumers, the implication of the detergent ads was that the product could be used to take clean clothes and make them dirty. Not surprisingly, few boxes of the detergent were sold before this cultural blunder was discovered. A refrigerator manufacturer experienced poor sales in the Middle East because of another cultural difference. The firm used a photo of an open refrigerator in its prints ads to demonstrate the large amount of storage offered by the appliance.
You would likely be disgusted. In some parts of world, however, horse and dog meat are accepted parts of diets. Firms must take cultural differences such as these into account when competing in international markets. Cultural differences can cause problems even when the cultures involved are very similar and share the same language.
In , RecycleBank expanded its operations into the UK. Differences in the meaning of English words between the United States and the UK are also vexing to American men named Randy, who wonder why Brits giggle at the mention of their name Figure 7. Carmichael, K. The Globe and Mail. Chesto, J.
Boston company gives up on offshoring call centre jobs to India, moves them to Maine instead. Flavelle, D. The Star. Isidore, C. July 2.
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