In urban centers, concerns like congestion, the high costs of owning a vehicle and environmental impact are leading more people to turn to micromobility for transportation. However, managing such a fleet of shared vehicles—be it bikes, mopeds or scooters—can be challenging.
While the business of micromobility hinges primarily on booking as many rides as possible, it is also about ensuring a quality experience to encourage more returning users. If the app doesn’t load quickly, if it’s too hard to find an available bike or scooter, and if the user can’t easily get on their way, then they will look elsewhere.
Speed is everything when it comes to micromobility. The rider experience as well as efficiency levels of micromobility companies will depend greatly on the way an organization can use and manage accurate location data.
Micromobility Is On The Rise
Micromobility has been a surprising success story of the early 2020s. It was initially developed by a few startups who were looking to provide a better way to get around town. Now, there are many companies offering micro-mobility services, especially in a post-pandemic economy.
Top micromobility companies flourished after the 2020 global lockdown because they used geo-tracking to analyze the flow of cities in order to meet market demand. Despite an initial slowdown at the start of the pandemic, micro-mobility companies have exploded, with a full recovery to both direct-to-consumer companies and sharing platforms. The micromobility market is projected to reach $195.42 Billion by 2030.
What is Micromobility?
Micromobility is an emerging technology that enables people to travel short distances by using single-person vehicles such as bicycles or scooters. It's called micro-mobility because an average trip length is only around 5 km, or 3 miles. The technology is gaining popularity due to the increase in the types of single-rider electric vehicles and the decrease in their cost.
Governments across the globe are implementing policies to encourage the use of micromobility with subsidies and tax incentives for the purchase of electric single-rider vehicles. In addition, governments are also providing financial support for the development of infrastructure required for the operation of these vehicles. Plus, there is a growing demand for micromobility solutions among residents who want to reduce their carbon footprint.
While many commuters worked from home in 2020 and 2021, they didn’t stop daily travel altogether. Instead, they prioritized shorter trips to grocery markets, delivery locations, and family members’ homes. Thus, there were far less cars on the highways, yet more trips by single person bikes, mopeds and scooters as it has lower risk of exposure to Covid and is a budget-friendly way to travel. Micromobility startups responded to these short-distance ride demands by deploying scooters and bikes in popular areas and tracking the flow of commuter traffic using geo-tracking apps.
Mapbox helps micromobility companies like TIER, Voi, and Revel drive their global strategy with solutions ranging from real-time maps and embedded navigation to create the best customer experience, to population movement data and fleet management tools to forecast locations of peak demand and coordinate field teams that rebalance and maintain their growing fleets.
Why Incorporate Location Intelligence Into Your Micromobility Strategy?
For micromobility companies, success is a three part strategy: create a delightful customer experience that drives customer loyalty, control costs with efficient operations, and maintain agility and innovation when it comes to safety and regulations.
Delightful customer experience that drives customer loyalty
The last thing anyone wants is to be stuck standing on the street, fumbling with their phone trying to find a nearby bike or scooter and get on their way. TIER, one of the leading micromobility companies, recently migrated completely to Mapbox to get customers on the road faster. Mapbox Map SDKs deliver faster load times and the ability to serve multimodal riding and parking zones in a single app interface, providing a better experience for riders.
"When it comes to interacting with the map, Mapbox outperforms our previous solution by 4-times, delivering a super smooth experience." Florian Weingarten, Head of Product at TIER Mobility.
End-to-end route planning
But providing delightful customer experience doesn't stop there. Mapbox Navigation SDK can provide micromobility companies with embedded turn-by-turn navigation directly inside their rider apps, opening the door to a completely branded end-to-end navigation experience where customers input their desired destination and the app guides them every step of the way—from finding a nearby vehicle, tailoring the route based on the vehicle type, avoiding unsafe or restricted zones, and guiding the rider to a convenient parking location nearby their destination.
Control costs with efficient operations
Forecast peak demand
Bikes and scooters need to be placed in areas with lots of people who need to go somewhere. This helps commuters get more use out of them. How can a micromobility company identify the best places to place their products? Location data is key. It can be used to forecast where and when surges of pedestrian traffic will occur so that additional inventory can be prepositioned there. Additional insights include the best location to place your bikes or scooters, how and when customers use them, as well as trip duration.
Mapbox Movement Data provides real-time insights about where people are moving most. With this service, companies can easily predict the locations that will have the greatest demand for bikes or scooters at different times.
Identify power users
Commuters are turning to micromobility services more than ever in our post COVID-19 economy. Many want to reduce their carbon footprint and fuel bills by using ride-sharing services and renting bicycles and scooters to get from place to place.
Micromobility services provide everyday commuters better options to get around. These everyday commuters can easily become power users if they are nurtured properly with the right mobility tools at the right time.
Discover who your repeat customers are and nurture your power users with a premium experience. Seamlessly connect your users with the closest mobility vehicles using the Mapbox Matrix API that determines the shortest travel times between points and takes the city’s evolution into consideration.
Simplify rebalancing and maintenance operations for field teams
Growing demand for micromobility means that micromobility fleet sizes are growing too. And with that growth comes an increasing challenge for organizing field teams that maintain vehicles. Micromobility companies can use Mapbox Fleet and Straightaway to plan, optimize, execute, and measure field operations—battery swaps, rebalancing, and more.
Maintain agility and innovation when it comes to regulations
Micromobility companies aim to inspire a global mobility revolution by making urban spaces more accessible for everyone. Whoever can innovate fastest to keep pace with, or even surpass regulations with smart safety features, will get more permits from cities in the future. Slow zones, no parking zones and out-of-bound zones need to be represented in an easy-to-use map using a platform that can handle heavy data, and load it quickly into maps for users.
Mapbox Navigation SDK enables mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) providers to embed tailored, turn-by-turn navigation directly into the app to help avoid slow zones or out-of-bounds zones and automatically navigate you to a nearby parking zone if your destination is in a no-parking zone. This enables your micro mobility business to provide premium-level service to both your power users as well as all your commuters to ensure a smooth and safe passage between places.
In the future, micromobility vehicles will be equipped with front-facing cameras similar to those commonly found in automobiles. The Mapbox Vision SDK can then detect pedestrians and distinguish different types of road surfaces to warn the rider or restrict their speed if conditions become unsafe.
Better Location Services at Mapbox
At Mapbox, we provide precise maps and location data for users, vehicles, and riders. Our tools support micromobility companies and their teams, enabling them to deliver the best experience for their customers, drive efficiency, and operate safely.