Shared micromobility systems are: "shared-use fleets of small, fully or partially human-powered vehicles such as bikes, e-bikes, and e-scooters" that are usually rented from an electronic kiosk and are used for short trips. These systems have seen explosive growth in few years with National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) estimating users took 84 million shared mobility trips in 2018 compared to 2017 when users took just 38.5 million trips.
However, this explosive growth has led to a number of problems for cities as officials have struggled with how to regulate these shared mobility services, particularly dockless shared mobility services. Dockless services, unlike more conventional docked bike sharing systems, present a number of unique challenges. First, dockless vehicles, unlike docked bike sharing systems are typically operated by private mobility providers whereas many, if not most, docked micromobility services are operated by cities or by private mobility providers in agreement with cities. Second, as the name implies, dockless vehicles do not have to be parked in any specific location which means users can park them in the public right-of-way blocking pedestrian routes or building entrances.
This source report outlined experiences of cities and city transportation officials throughout the United States and focused primarily on dockless micromobility services operated by private providers. Example best practices are listed below:
- Only allow permitted providers to operate micromobility fleets.
- Require operators to carry appropriate insurance.
- Require operators to hold, in escrow, funds to cover the cost of vehicle removal should the provider cease operations.
- Reserve the right to regulate fleet size.
- Reserve the right to remove and/or dispose of vehicles as necessary.
- Require full maintenance checks of vehicles periodically.
- Create corrals or designated parking areas for shared micromobility vehicles.