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Coming to a street near you: micromobility trends shaping the future of transport

In brief

Open-air options like electric scooters, e-bikes and e-mopeds are taking off in urban areas as flexible, cost-effective and eco-friendly alternatives to car travel and public transportation. To better understand global micromobility market growth, Star analyzed leading last-mile service providers across North America, Europe and APAC. So, what advanced technologies can you expect to see on your next ride? What are rental companies doing to keep users safe and engaged? What do top micromobility companies have in common, and, perhaps more importantly, how do they differ?

While the micromobility solutions industry took a hit during the pandemic, it is on track for a strong recovery. The global micromobility market is expected to reach $150 billion USD by 2025, according to a micromobility market growth report by Market Research Future. Consumers and cities alike valued the benefits of lightweight vehicles like bikes and e-scooters even before the pandemic, but Covid-19 underlined the importance of sustainable, safe and flexible travel options. According to a global survey by McKinsey & Company, the percentage of users interested in regularly using a shared mobility solution has increased by 12 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels. What’s more, riders are increasingly willing to use bikes and e-scooters for more than just short distances. 

Government support is also contributing to the bright future of micromobility. Around the world, urban areas are investing in micromobility solutions and infrastructure. Milan, emboldened by the decline in traffic and air pollution during the pandemic, announced an ambitious plan to replace car lanes with cycling lanes for bikes and electric scooters. Rome, Bologna, Lisbon, Barcelona and Paris are also among the growing list of European cities investing in new cycling lanes. So, which micromobility industry leaders will win the global race for market share? Here are three key factors that will help separate scooter sharing companies from the pack. 

Differentiating vehicles and services by addressing user pain points

Star’s analysis revealed certain services and vehicle features have become table stakes for the micromobility industry, such as providing estimated range times so users know how long they can go before they need a charge. This feature addresses “range anxiety” - the fear that you may not be able to get where you are going before your electric scooter, e-bike or moped runs out of power. But the scooter operators that are standing out and defining the future of micromobility are using less common ideas to address user challenges and improve the rider experience. TIER Mobility, a leading scooter sharing and micromobility provider in Europe, is building a collaborative charging network across urban areas in Europe by inviting local businesses to host a PowerBox, an easy-to-use battery swapping station where users can exchange depleted batteries for charged ones. Wind, a leading micromobility company in Europe, added an integrated wireless phone charger to the front panel of the scooter. The new feature qualms another common fear: what happens if your phone runs out of batteries?! It also protects Wind scooters. According to a customer survey, 36% of riders had been unable to lock their electric scooter upon reaching their destination because their phone had died. 

Using technology and partnerships to improve vehicle safety

While global micromobility market growth is undeniable, city officials, local residents and micromobility riders have questions and concerns about safety. Micromobility companies are using cameras, sensors, AI, voice, intelligent dashboards, GPS and more to verify user identity and detect and prevent accidents. In San José, California, micromobility company Bolt is testing a new feature that uses built-in sensors and AI to detect if an electric scooter rider is on a sidewalk instead of the street.

What’s better than detecting unlawful or risky behavior? Preventing it before it starts. Star’s analysis revealed that a key micromobility trend is incentivizing users to take online safety courses. More than half a million users have “attended” Voi’s online traffic school, Ride Like Voila. The digital program rewards people for participating with credits for future rides. TIER also incentivizes users to participate in its digital learning program, Ride Safe School, by offering users a free ride when they finish. To ensure the quality of these programs and, in turn, the safe and compliant future of micromobility, some companies are partnering with third-parties. Tier’s program was created with AA’s DriveTech, while Lime worked with Motorcycle Safety Foundation to create its online moped safety course. These collaborations should contribute to shared mobility services that rival public transportation. 

Taking a holistic approach to the customer journey

The companies that prove micromobility industry leaders will be the ones that can map and nurture a holistic user journey. This requires businesses to understand customer needs and preferences; deliver exceptional user experience design; and foster brand loyalty every step of the way. To differentiate their sharing services and keep up with changing preferences, emerging technology and micromobility trends, companies must continually roll out new features. But they must never lose sight of the overall rider experience. Every addition or change should streamline or augment the user journey. Only then will shared mobility solutions become a widely adopted mode of transportation.    

Need help understanding your customer preferences? Download our micromobility trend report.

Trend report

Need help understanding your customer preferences? Download our micromobility trend report.

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Star's experts have decades of experience in automotive and mobility strategy and design.

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