Micromobility Could Become a Catalyst for Championing Smarter Road Vulnerability Solutions in Urban Communities

Key Takeaways

  • Notwithstanding changes to physical infrastructure such as bike pathways, cities must capitalize on the latest disruptive technologies to stay micromobility friendly and enhance micromobility safety.

The rise of micromobility has been an incredible grassroots success story of recent years in the urban transport sector, including e-cycles, e-skateboards, e-scooter, kick-scooter motorists, and other light personal mobility devices. The concept of “micromobility” is being used in several countries to address many transportation needs.

In more practical terms, micromobility has become an essential tool for achieving greater efficiency, safety, and environmental quality. With increased awareness about the need to reduce carbon footprint, cities have begun looking for innovative solutions that will allow them to achieve sustainability. Moreover, cities that have embraced shared transportation in micromobility to achieve sustainability have done so not only to alleviate their traffic congestion and maintain cleaner air.

According to a recent International Transport Forum (ITF) report, “…micromobility could improve traffic safety by reducing the number of car and motorcycle trips in a city. It can increase the catchment area of public transport by allowing wider access to stations. It can also offer a convenient door-to-door transport solution.” For these reasons, there is some hope that micromobility might help solve road fatality rates more seriously than traditional safety measures.

As the urban mobility landscape continues to evolve, and the demand for shared transportation increases while stressing roads to their full capacity, safety improvements will continue to be one major focus for all the shared micromobility stakeholders. However, as vital as it is for local authorities to ensure riders’ safety, there also needs be a strategic approach in place with an emphasis on investing in technology solutions that protect micromobilty riders; a winning formula for gaining more “buy-in” from operators and for reaching micromobilty scale in more markets.

Covid-19 Changing the Urban Transportation Landscape and Bringing on New Challenges

With more people avoiding public transportation and opting for micro-vehicle modes, how can authorities ensure that with the added number of micro-vehicle riders, there won’t be an increase in crash victims?

As the road safety technology and engineering industry respond to the mounting challenges of climate change, environmental threats, and increasing demand for more sustainable mobility, micromobility companies are finding new ways to make urban transportation more affordable, efficient, and environmentally friendly. However, since the onslaught of the Coronavirus pandemic in early 2020, public transport systems have struggled with the demands of providing a virus-free travel environment that also complies with social distancing local guidelines, forcing cities to implement more sustainable methods to meet the demand of commuting.

The impact of Covid-19 is compounded by a pre-existing global transportation crisis in which urban populations squeezed into tight quarters, with limited space for cars, buses, and trains. And with less access to land for parking and fueling, cities are looking for ways to create a more cost-effective solution to their transportation needs.

Turning to Disruptive Technologies: Machine Learning Intervention Meets Correctional Driving School

How do we develop technology that can improve rider behavior to help mitigate accident cases and create a safer road travel environment?

Many applications are being researched in the field of how to apply advanced technology in micromobility to keep roads safe. By using technology capable of analyzing the data collected by the environment around them, humans can better understand the real-time events that occur and take appropriate action to keep the roads safe and avoid potential collisions.

Future advancements in predictive modeling systems will provide us with greater insight into applying artificial intelligence in the environment to keep our roads less vulnerable and ensure that micromobility transportation users can get around safely and efficiently.

The Mobile Device Solution: Instead of a bug, a major feature

How do we take advantage of the mobile phone to protect micro vehicle riders from vulnerable roads?

Converting the mobile device from an interventive object, which can cause higher distracted driving incidents, to a road safety resource that would help mitigate micromobility accident rates. Taking advantage of the mobile device to act as a personal “road traffic controller”, safeguarding riders from hazardous road conditions and potential collisions. Fortunately, most modern smartphones are now embedded with new dual-frequency GPS sensors, which allows for extremely high accuracy.

An optimal solution would be to have a mobile device equipped to identify and predict potential traffic collisions. But in order to accomplish that, there not only needs to be a platform that utilizes the existing network infrastructure but one of which is powered by advanced algorithms driven by mobile user data to predict road behavior, analyze safety trends and extract insights. This would provide connected road users real-time alerts on their own mobile devices in any given situation.

Key Performance Features — What are the core components that are an absolute must for this type of solution?

  • Camera-free — It is impractical to mount a camera on a micromobility vehicle; to achieve widespread deployment, any collision detection technology cannot rely on cameras.

To deliver on the promise of safe and accessible micromobilty, city planners and stakeholders must look to technological solutions to complement their road safety awareness and physical infrastructure efforts.

Eye-Net develops smart communication platforms to enhance road safety and situational awareness for all road users in the urban mobility environment