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Micromobility in the Smart City

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Cities are under stress in many ways: increasing populations, increasing pollution and traffic congestion, and the need to implement sustainable initiatives. There is hope that solutions such as micromobility can help address certain of these issues.

The Micromobility Solution

The majority of the world’s population is living in urban areas and that number is predicted to increase to 2050 by the year 2050. In addition, building more roads to accommodate transport needs isn’t feasible in terms of budgets for cities and does not attain sustainability targets. Public transportation is helpful, but frequently does not service all communities equally. Residents are still faced with what is known as the “last-mile challenge”–how to travel to and from the stop for transit. Micromobility fills in these gaps and gives many additional benefits.

Micromobility units operate at slow speed, do not require fossil fuels and can carry only one or two passengers at each time. They are intended for use in bicycle lanes. Nowadays, micromobility typically means electric bikes and electric scooters.

The many benefits of this format include:

  • A low carbon footprint Micromobility is typically powered by electric power or pedaled by human beings (like bicycles). This helps keep the carbon footprint to a minimum. The vehicles also use energy more effectively. A micromobility vehicle powered by electricity is much more effective than a car. If scooters and bicycles form an integrated reserve of resources The footprint gets smaller as the resource is only used when it is necessary.
  • More affordable A five-mile daily journey with micromobility costs $2.93/year instead of more than $180 with a car.
  • more equitable Policy analysts believe that micromobility opens up access to the deserts of transportation regions that traditional modes would otherwise not serve and makes transportation accessible and easily accessible. Cities such as Columbus, Ohio, have demonstrated that people who are not served have access to more basic needs such as healthcare using smart technology.
  • Reducing dependence on the car The car-centric approach is likely to take time to shift however, micromobility could help us get there. Utilizing less-impact vehicles for short-distance trips, as the majority of micromobility journeys are between 2-5 km, can help reduce the reliance of people on automobiles. With 35 percent of automobile journeys within the United States are under three kilometers, this represents an important and attractive chance.

The Role of IoT in Micromobility

The vast and lucrative potential that micromobility offers can be best realized when combined in conjunction with Internet of Things (IoT). Similar to other applications in which IoT can be utilized it can help both ways. IoT operates in real-time on”the “edge” and delivers data that planners of cities can combine and analyze for a study of the long-term needs of transportation and trends.

In accordance with the requirements for data A micromobility vehicle can house a variety of sensors. Near-field communications (NFC) to unlock the vehicle, as well as online payments and an international Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) sensor that tracks the location of vehicles as well as a sound sensor which can warn pedestrians to stay away as well as a motion sensor. In more advanced scenarios the micromobility vehicle could make use of noise and air quality sensors to capture information about the environment and send it to third-party organizations for environmental quality analysis.

A micromobility device that is connected to the Internet of Things is able to communicate with fleet managers in order to relay information about location, allowing greater visibility into the units. By monitoring location data throughout time, these companies can track trends in use and allocate allotments according to. IoT can also enable vehicle-to vehicle communication (V2C) that connects the vehicle and the other vehicles in the road to ensure more efficient traffic flow. In the same way, proximity sensors notify pedestrians in the road about the presence of the unit and, in turn, increase security.

IoT assists users to return their docking stations in a safe manner and assists maintaining their fleets. Micromobility fleets that use IoT will let you know when a unit is about to fail to help with pre-planned maintenance. IoT patterns of usage in terms of location and time can help city planners create infrastructure plans to allow for other transit alternatives.

Challenges and Solutions to Micromobility

Although low-impact vehicles for the final kilometer are an excellent idea but the idea isn’t without problems.

The issue of acceptance and mentality among consumers as well as city planners is a major issue. In 2019, there were 13 million trips using shared scooters and bikes up 60% from the previous year. The chart of growth is promising with the global market predicted to grow to $150 billion in 2025. City planners, who are worried about micromobility solutions stealing valuable real estate from the sidewalks and car lanes should work on practical solutions that allow for new transport and delivery strategies (autonomous delivery robots already on the way).

The scooting craze has created a negative image in cities with inadequate infrastructure to handle the issue. Micromobility providers can help reduce the incidence of these accidents by using IoT-controlled sensors that help users find charging docks or charging fees for violators.

Connectivity on the road is a different issue which will test the efficacy of micromobility. If people aren’t able to reliably use the scooter or place it in the proper spot after they have completed their task it, they won’t be able to take advantage of the technology quickly. Wide area networks and 5G (WAN) are expected to supply the required communications infrastructure.

Unsafe user behavior, such as driving on sidewalks, instead of using designated bike lanes can negatively impact public attitudes and safety. They can also benefit from data from IoT data as well as from proactive government frameworks that support multi-modal transportation strategies.

Luckily, these issues can be addressed with feasible solutions, which could help to create micromobility. According to McKinsey the world is experiencing an increase in demand for sustainable mobility options, which is good news for the consumer and the earth.

Michal Pukala
Electronics and Telecommunications engineer with Electro-energetics Master degree graduation. Lightning designer experienced engineer. Currently working in IT industry.