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Examining the impact of a sustainable electric micromobility approach in Europe

Never-ending traffic jams, growing CO2 emissions and high particulate matter, excessive noise levels, and a lack of recreational space have become some of the most pressing issues for Europe’s cities. Still largely focused on the needs of (combustion engine) car drivers and reliant on outdated infrastructures, most cities’ transport systems have been unable to adequately address these important threats to the quality of life in our urban areas. It is also becoming clear that, as it stands, they will not be able to accommodate the expected roughly threefold increase in both passenger and freight ton kilometres travelled by 2050.

One of the most recent developments in the urban mobility sector has been the rise of electric micromobility. Over the past two to three years, electric two- and three-wheelers have exploded onto the scene, with numbers increasing four times faster than similar bike sharing schemes. Still in its infancy, micromobility
set out with high aspirations to solve some of our cities’ gravest problems – such as pollution and congestion – while creating a new, fun mode of moving people and goods. To date, it has not been able to live up to that promise. On the contrary, the hasty and unsustainable manner – both with respect to the technology and the business model – in which the vehicles were introduced to the market has created new problems.

If these teething troubles are eliminated, electric micromobility can be a key element of a distributed, multimodal transit system using sustainable vehicles and business models – ultimately, leading to a highly positive overall impact on the quality of life in Europe’s cities.