EXCLUSIVE: Micromobility set for boom in London

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The Covid-19 crisis has provided the catalyst which is to lead to the rapid growth of micromobility across London, as the government encourages active transport as one of the key ways to get the nation moving, while maintaining social distancing.

After a cautious start in the UK to allowing the use of e-scooters and other micromobility solutions, the Department for Transport (DfT) has now proposed that e-scooters be allowed on public roads and in cycle lanes for the first time, but not on footpaths, and be limited to a maximum speed of 12.5mph.

The proposals come as the green light is also given to pilot schemes across the capital, with legislation to allow private use of e-scooters and similar micromobility solutions likely to follow.

Speaking exclusively on Traffic Technology International podcast Francesca Levy, programme director for London innovation centre Plexal, who has been involved in extensive e-scooter trial with Bird, said: “There has been unprecedented movement from government on this issue in light of the pandemic. Micromobility will be a fantastic solution to rebuilding the economy and getting people to work.

Francesca Lavey, mobility programme director, Plexal

“We’ve been in conversation with all the micromobility providers and local London boroughs who might want to run pilot schemes. We understand London boroughs are now free to do so, so long as they adhere to the legal and insurance requirements. We want to share our learnings and make sure they are put to use. We’ve looked at how to deploy safely with robust processes around them, how to deal with peak demand and roadworks, and how to quickly change routes or other parameters.

“We have a clear understanding average length of journeys and number of rides across a given day, as well as numbers of incidents. Some of that data will be really useful for some of the boroughs who are deploying micromobility.”

To hear the full interview, don’t miss the latest episode of the Traffic Technology International podcast. And for more about the mobility studies happening at Plexal, on London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, log onto their website.

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs in charge of public agencies around the world as well as chairmen and CEOs of multinational transportation technology corporations. Tom's early career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).