Skip to main content
EU Urban Mobility Observatory
News article10 December 2021

The Benefits of Micro-mobility for Cities

The concept of micro-mobility is nothing new. In fact, the idea of micro-mobility started with an on-demand bicycle sharing program in Europe in 1975. Decades later, people have re-discovered micro-mobility by upgrading bicycles, kick scooters, and skateboards to their electronic version today. Now, when you hear the word micro-mobility, you think of electric scooters, electric bikes, and electric skateboards, among many others.

However, the benefits of micro-mobility remain the same. The only difference then and now is its impact on cities and people. As populations increase in cities and fuel prices sore, micro-mobility becomes the solution to increasing road congestion challenges and environmental problems. After all, they have proven to be eco-friendly, efficient, and low-cost to operate.

If more cities legalise and implement shared micro-mobility systems, it can make a significant difference in how people move. With this, here are the various benefits of micro-mobility for cities.

The Benefits of Micro-mobility for Cities

Resolve road congestion

The first challenge that micro-mobility transportation systems can resolve is road congestion. As more people reside in cities and prefer using personal transportation to get around, congestion on main roads also increases.

Road congestion results in wasted hours and productivity due to being stuck on the road. It is not only a productivity killer for individuals but also businesses. Micro-mobility transportation, such as electric scooters and e-bikes, resolve this by providing a more compact transportation device that helps reduce vehicles on main roads. Most micro-mobility riders are not allowed on main roads, so they use alternative routes, which helps clear up traffic. For riders, riding e-scooters or e-bikes means bypassing traffic and arriving at their destination faster.

Ride an eco-friendly transportation system

One major benefit of allowing micro-mobility devices in cities is their environmental impact. When roads clear up, there will be fewer vehicles that emit smoke, carbon, and other harmful gases. The biggest problem in road transportation today is the high amount of carbon emissions that road vehicles produce. In fact, road transportation contributes to 23% of carbon dioxide emissions globally.

Since micro-mobility devices don’t use engines and don’t consume fuel, these devices don’t release any harmful emissions. Ujet and SustainAbility report that replacing 8% of road vehicles with electric vehicles can reduce emissions by 80% by 2050. That’s a significant positive impact on the environment, especially in the long run. If more cities encourage the use of personal or shared micro-mobility devices, it may be possible to reduce or completely remove air pollution sooner than later.

Build greener infrastructure

One reason that some cities hesitate or take longer to implement micro-mobility transport systems is due to several micro-mobility challenges. This includes building the right road infrastructure for bicycles, e-bikes, e-scooters, and other micro-mobility vehicles. Although building lanes or paths specifically for these transport devices will not take up much space, it will take time and careful planning to integrate them into existing urban landscapes.

However, cities can be sure that micro-mobility infrastructures are easier and greener to establish than regular road infrastructures. For example, building parking spaces or installing bike racks along footpaths don’t take up much space and effort.

Moreover, lanes and paths for e-scooters and e-bikes can be integrated into cities without destroying the existing nature as long as it’s carefully planned and executed. In fact, many cities across the world build micro-mobility lanes through forests or parks without harming the environment. Overall, micro-mobility infrastructures are greener than regular road infrastructures.

Offer a low-cost personal transportation

Micro-mobility devices such as e-scooters and e-bikes are significantly cheaper than buying or renting a car. Moreover, e-scooter owners save on maintenance and fuel costs since e-scooters and other micro-mobility devices contain fewer parts and don’t consume fuel. Thanks to its cost-saving benefits, micro-mobility devices have become a popular mode of transportation for university students and young working adults. They also provide an efficient and low-cost transport alternative for low-income families in cities and suburbs.

Provide better access to opportunities

Encouraging the use of personal and shared mobility in cities provides students, workers, locals, and tourists better access to opportunities. Micro-mobility companies like Lime, Neuron, and Beam, in particular, make e-scooters and e-bikes more accessible for commuters whenever and wherever.

A survey by Lime in Washington, DC revealed that 44% of their riders used the shared e-scooter to go to their current job. The survey also revealed that 57% use shared e-scooters to go to work and school. Meanwhile, 29.3% of tourists use shared e-scooters to access shops within a city, according to Lime’s 2019 Global Rider Survey.

Overall, these surveys present how micro-mobility offers individuals access to opportunities and how cities can tap on their workforce better. Help increase economic activity If more people can get around the city efficiently, it would also impact a city’s overall economic activity. Since a good number of commuters prefer using micro-mobility devices to travel, it can help boost sales for local shops.

A survey by Lime reported that 72% of e-scooter riders use shared e-scooters to visit local shops and attractions. Moreover, research from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School found that shared e-scooter schemes help increase sales for food and beverage shops, contributing an extra $13.8 million in sales. Overall, cities should not neglect the possible economic impact of micro-mobility on individuals and businesses.

The Future of Micro-mobility in Cities

Overall, cities should encourage more electric scooters to promote better and more sustainable lifestyles in cities. Most cities globally are still studying or trialling the impacts of micro-mobility transport systems, but so far, the results are positive as more cities start to enforce and promote them.

So, what does the future look like for micro-mobility? The pandemic may have affected the industry, but it has proven to be resilient and helpful during these tough times. In fact, more people prefer to ride micro-mobile devices than public transportation due to its convenience and hygiene. Moreover, commuters are becoming conscious of their carbon footprint, and more people are choosing to travel sustainably. Overall, the future of micro-mobility looks positive as more cities become more open to its adoption.


Publication date
10 December 2021
Clean and energy-efficient vehiclesSafety and urban mobility