7 takeaways from the Micromobility Conference Berlin

On October 1st, the most accomplished mobility and micro-mobility players from all around the world took over the stage at the Micromobility conference in Berlin. Seasoned experts shared valuable insights and real experiences on how to create better mobility experiences. Here, we are listing our seven main takeaways from the conference.

  1. Cities leading the way: Even though they are very heterogeneous, the represented cities agreed that it is their duty to take a leading role in establishing clear communication and policies for MSPs to guarantee safety and convenience for their citizen’s traveling needs.
  2. Unified regulation is needed now: MSPs agreed that cities should provide unified regulations for micromobility and leave no space for interpretation or loopholes so that everyone has the same starting point. Straight forward communication also allows MSPs to analyze if that particular city is a good fit for their business and vice versa.
  3. Different cities have different drivers: For example, San Francisco is very focused on the deployment chain, meaning that they allow only a few providers at the time to deploy their fleets. Portland, on the other hand, focusses on environmental KPIs and therefore works with providers that prove to be invested in the long lifecycle of their devices, high utilization rates, and general performance.
  4. Data is locked in silos: Cities are asking for more transparent information from transport providers, but MSPs tend to refrain from sharing standardized data. They claim that each provider uses slightly different tech and devices for their fleets, resulting in unique data sets. Thus it seems that both parties are stuck in a cursed loop. Nevertheless, we can see some examples of collaboration between both public and private entities.
  5. The Lisbon example: To operate in Lisbon, MSPs need to get a permit from the city itself. The only way to get it is by agreeing to use standardized data sharing protocol (MDS). It only took a few weeks for MSP providers to adapt to the requirements, and the city now has a unified data pool.
  6. The Brussels example: Brussels decided to try a different tactic. Officials are establishing a new framework for micromobility as we write, and it is done by communicating closely and having constant feedback loops between cities and MSPs. Both parties express their needs, challenge each other and try to find common ground. Currently, these meetings happen on a quarterly basis but there is an intention to ease and speed up the process by digitizing it.
  7. Cities have four areas of concern: Improving sustainability, lowering the barriers for trying new types of mobility, understanding their own network, and be the first one to lead the game, are four key challenges for cities. Regional governance is not as static as one might think: authorities learn from each other. With Paris as a recent example, other cities derived one main conclusion: an open and unregulated environment is not the right strategy for launching new types of mobility. Regulating in a situation of uncertainty (especially for mobility modes no one really knows) should not be rushed.

To sum it up, we left the conference with a strong impression that cities want to act now, but that they lack the know-how to orchestrate a holistic approach to mobility. They want to implement policies to regulate the micromobility scene and lead it in the right direction, so that it benefits both businesses and citizens. At the moment, cities need to answer questions such as data sharing, regulation implementation, digitalization, and potential middlemen needed to provide relevant technology. And finally, both cities and MSPs strongly believe that consolidation of operators will happen in cities, either due to economics or regulatory frameworks. May the battle of the streets begin.

About Trafi

Founded in 2013, Trafi is a Lithuanian tech start-up. Trafi is working shoulder-to-shoulder with cities, countries, and companies worldwide to create the best in class Mobility-as-a-Service alternative for congested cities. Trafi offers cities the possibility to connect all mobility services into one single platform where users can check itineraries and also book their tickets and trips. 

Trafi’s mission is to empower cities’ urban transportation with technology and know-how and encourage citizens to use more sustainable modes of transportation by accessing all services into one single platform. Trafi is currently live in 4 continents around the world and 7 cities.

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