Micromobility is viewed by many as a solution to traffic congestion in large cities around the world and as an important step towards making urban areas more environmentally friendly. If we can encourage more people to complete the last leg of their city journeys by bike or by e-scooter, it is believed that we will see a marked reduction in pollution and significantly improved traffic flow in the most congested areas of modern cities.
However, if the shared micromobility industry is to meet these high expectations, there are a number of challenges it must first overcome. Below, we take a look at some of the most important challenges micromobility operators need to be aware of and consider the most effective ways to tackle them.
Challenges that every micromobility business must overcome
If you are interested in expanding into the micromobility market, you will need to find a way to meet and overcome all of the following issues:
- Safety concerns — Battery-powered bicycles and e-scooters are a relatively new development in many areas of the world, which means that more than a few governments and local authorities have yet to formulate comprehensive safety regulations covering these types of vehicles. The number of e-scooter accidents has increased markedly in recent years and this trend looks set to continue if concerted action is not taken.
Part of the reason for this increase is undoubtedly due to the rise in popularity of e-scooters but safety experts are nevertheless concerned about the possibility of more hospitalisations and fatalities in the future. Companies that are planning to enter the micromobility market therefore need to pay close attention to safety. Firms that are able to demonstrate they are taking safety seriously are far more likely to establish themselves as long-term players in this emerging industry.
- Vehicle maintenance — Managing a large fleet of shared micromobility vehicles presents logistical challenges that successful operators will need to overcome. Maintaining hundreds of e-scooters and battery-powered bicycles will require careful planning and efficient execution. Poorly maintained vehicles will not only add to safety concerns, they will also be likely to deter first-time customers from using your company’s services in the future.
The market for micromobility solutions is expected to become even more competitive in the coming years, which means that operators simply cannot afford to fall behind with the maintenance and servicing of the vehicles they provide.
- Asset tracking — A micromobility business must know where all of their vehicles are at any given moment in time. Without an effective asset tracking solution, it will be impossible for operators to utilise their resources efficiently and to make sure that theft and vandalism issues do not threaten the viability of their business models. Car rental companies that are looking to move into the micromobility market should theoretically hold an advantage when it comes to asset tracking, thanks to their experience. However, this will only be the case if they already have an effective system in place.
- Changing government regulations — As the market expands and more operators appear, we are sure to see new micromobility regulations from central and local government bodies worldwide. In many cities, we have already seen new regulations introduced, and all operators need to be aware of these regulations as they come into effect. The ability to adapt quickly to changing regulations will be a valuable asset to any micromobility company in the future and could make the difference between success and failure.
Other challenges are likely to emerge, but these are currently the most pressing for many operators. Fortunately, most of them can be overcome by adopting micromobility management software that puts operators firmly in control of their fleets.
Using software solutions to meet the most important challenges
In conjunction with IoT tracking devices, well-designed fleet management software can help micromobility operators meet and overcome the challenges they will face, both now and in the future.
- Improving safety — The ability to collect usage data on all vehicles and to correlate this with customer data will provide operators with valuable insights into how and why accidents happen. By acting on these insights, it should be possible to minimise future accidents and make micromobility a safer proposition in cities across the globe.
- Robust customer assessment - If you are subscribing out micromobility fleet such as e-scooters, your business may want to incorporate a customer assessment tool that filters out any potential who may pose a risk to safe usage of your fleet. With a purpose-built mobility subscription management tool like Loopit, your business will be able to change minimum age requirements as well as determine the criteria for who you want your subscribers to be.
- Ensuring maintenance tasks are performed on time — Effective tracking will also enable operators to keep accurate records of mileage for all the vehicles in their fleets and to ensure that maintenance tasks are performed in line with best industry practices.
- Preventing vandalism and theft — Whilst it may not be possible to eradicate these micromobility cons completely, companies can take steps to reduce the possibility of either. This is achieved by making sure they always know where every vehicle in their fleet is located. Bikes and scooters that are not returned to collection points can quickly be rounded up if they are fitted with IoT tracking devices that are monitored by a fleet management system.
- Staying abreast of the latest regulations — Easily configurable shared micromobility fleet management software can be used to ensure that all new regulations are followed. Operators will still need to make sure they are aware of new regulations and guidelines as they are introduced, but they will find it much simpler to follow the rules with a system that flags any non-compliance issues as soon as they arise.
In addition to helping micromobility business owners meet these challenges, fleet management software will simplify the task of remaining competitive as the market becomes more crowded. Reporting functionality will allow operators to quickly identify the most profitable new trends and position their businesses to capitalise on these trends before the competition.
If you would like to learn more about how fleet management software can help new micromobility ventures get off the ground and remain profitable in the long term, please feel free to contact the team at Loopit and request a full demo today.