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Micromobility: The Future of Transport?

Micromobility a UK Roadmap

Powered Micromobility Vehicles (those under ~230kgs unladen weight ) offer a huge opportunity to decarbonise transport, reduce congestion, improve air quality and reduce car dependence. The global market for these vehicles is growing exponentially but the UK is behind in adoption and our vehicle developers have a market share of less than 1% as a result.

Our work has shown that there is support for PMVs across stakeholders when standards are improved and regulations tailored to different vehicle form factors. The proposals outlined pave the way for the UK to realise the benefits of PMVs, and to move from laggards to leaders in this field. The key finding is that one-size does not fit all when it comes to the needs of, and sensible rules for future PMVs. Around key factors such as the minimum age of users and a maximum speed of these vehicles, there is variation in what is considered appropriate from one form factor to another, and legislation must cater for this. Work undertaken by WMG at the University of Warwick with Cenex, supported by TRL and the MCIA over the last year has formed a timeline of actions (Figure 3) which sees the first new PMV type on UK roads as early as mid-2023, with two new types following behind after consultation and trials respectively.

The "Micromobility a UK Roadmap" document sets out proposals which will address these issues, unleashing Micromobility innovation in the UK. The full document can be viewed here: Micromobility a UK Roadmap

West Midlands E-scooter Trial

Micromobility has the potential to revolutionise the way people move around the UK. From electric scooters to electric bikes, micromobility solutions can provide convenient sustainable transport for last-mile journeys, significantly reducing traffic congestion and air pollution.

In June 2020, the UK announced the first nationwide trial of e-scooters. This 12 month trial of rental e-scooters will be used to study the impact of e-scooters. Following this, in September 2020, Voi Technology, a Swedish based micromobility company, won the West Midlands tender, which includes: Coventry, Birmingham, Sandwell (West Bromwich), Solihull, Walsall, Warwickshire, and Wolverhampton.

University of Warwick E-scooter Study

E-scooters - Roger Woodman - Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park London

With e-scooter rental services, the approach is seemingly follow the leader. The top five e-scooter service providers and manufacturers are offering the same basic product/service. However, based on our research, we anticipate that in the near future, we will see further innovation on the design of e-scooters, much in the same way skateboard designs changed in the 1990s. This could include adding suspension, more wheels, longer wheelbase, wider wheelbase, larger deck, longer handles, etc.

For further information about the research being carried out at WMG, please contact Dr Roger Woodman